FinTech Connects… with Alex Mifsud, CEO & Co-Founder, Weavr
This week, I caught up with Alex Mifsud, the serial payments entrepreneur with a penchant for innovation and solving problems.
Alex is CEO of paytech startup, Weavr, an open collaboration platform for developers, innovators, payments vendors and financial institutions.
I talked to Alex about digital commerce, the evolving payments market and how he’s maintained a zeal for launching businesses after 15 years in the industry.
Here’s what he had to say.
What problem is Weavr trying to solve?
The demand for payments in digital commerce has never been greater – McKinsey expects growth from $450bn in 2016 to $750bn in 2021 in Europe alone. To deliver the slick payments experiences that we have come to expect thanks to the likes of Uber and Airbnb, today’s innovators want to harness increasingly diverse and powerful payments capabilities. But, there are issues around complexity, compliance and cost challenges to contend with. Weavr solves these problems by offering a range of payments templates – starting with 3 focused on virtual card and IBANs. They that incorporate diverse payments types and are quick, easy and cheap to deploy.
Weavr hasn’t launched publicly yet, but what can you tell us about early traction?
Weavr is in closed beta with a handful of early adopter innovators from London, San Francisco and Paris. It has also secured and implemented key payments providers including Paynetics, GPS and iDenfy to provide payments and compliance services to these early adopters so that they can get their solutions to market. The drivers for the innovators are as I’ve explained earlier; for the payments providers, the driver is to speed up the sales cycle and ultimately secure more business.
How has the payment market moved since you started out in fintech?
I launched my first virtual card business in 2003, many years before the term fintech was used for such businesses. The big challenge then was to convince banks to support new business models. Since then, regulators (at least in Europe) have actively opened up access to those innovating in financial services and sometimes challenging the banks directly. These trends tend to overreach and in the next 3-5 years the dust will start to settle into some transformed legacy banks alongside newly established financial services brands. The amount of capital that continues to be injected into this transformation and the pace of change makes it all very exciting for entrepreneurs.
As a serial entrepreneur, how do you maintain a passion for launching businesses?
Weavr is my third payments business. The big driver for me is always spotting a problem upon which I can bring a distinctive angle or solution. It’s always hypothetical at first, but where that angle translates to a solution with real advantage then I’m hooked. The job then is to convince everyone else – investors, team, partners, customers – to buy into it, and to make it happen. Weavr is a bit special because it’s about empowering innovators solve problems – and innovation is my passion so it’s doubly exciting for me.
What do you want out of FinTech Connect?
FinTech Connect is now an established event for the whole fintech ecosystem to come together. We’re looking to showcase our open platform to the whole fintech industry, and to invite any provider – be it a financial institution, payments vendor or data provider – wanting to sell services through Weavr to talk to us. In addition, we would like to speak to banks who are building their API offerings and developer engagement ecosystems to consider using a white-label ‘private cloud’ version of Weavr to achieve their objectives.
Weavr will be showcasing their solution on the Startup LaunchPad, on the morning of 4 December. The Startup LaunchPad runs on 3-4 December and plays host to a range of innovative fintech startups. They have 10 minutes to pitch their product, to an audience located right in the middle of the exhibition.