Simon Lee is CEO and Co-Founder at PromisePay. PromisePay is a fintech startup that builds a payment platform for marketplaces. They’re heavily focused on building trust into the payment flow. If you’re buying a car off Carsales, the PromisePay platform is what you’ll use to pay the seller via escrow.
The company was founded in 2013 and has subsequently grown to 40 people – recently raising $14 million dollars from investors including Westpac and the Carsales Network.
Some of the highlights of this interview include:
- Simon talking about how his last business failed, and what he learnt from the experience: “I feared failure and then I wasn’t actually operating in an effective way” (video from 2:17)
- Simon talks about the importance of persistence, and the number of people who said PromisePay could never work (video from 7:38)
- An interesting discussion about the parallels between product design and organisational design (video from 14:05)
- PromisePay’s strategy out to 2020 and how they’re leveraging strategic investors to launch internationally (video from 17:25)
- What Simon wishes he knew on day one: The importance of confronting problems early and belief (video from 20:00)
Steve Pell: Hi, I’m Steve Pell from Management Disrupted. I’m here with Simon Lee from PromisePay. Simon, could you start by telling us a little bit about who you are and what you’re doing here?
Simon Lee: Sure, I’m cofounder of PromisePay. We started out about two and a half years ago. Originally we just wanted to fix payments for freelancers and contractors because we saw there was a trust issue there. I’d run a consultancy before that, I was owed a million dollars at any one time and really wanted to improve that.
We quickly realised that there was this huge opportunity in marketplaces because there were trust issues in payments on these platforms. Around that time, we got backed by Jim McKelvey from Square Payments and we pivoted into this new platform for payments, which quickly turned into all these other opportunities for us.
We’re signing many new platforms now. A platform could be anything such as Xero or Reckon accounting software. Now we’re actually signing banks, to be the backend for services for banks as well. Because what we’ve built is it’s not just about transactions, it’s actually about building all this understanding of risk into transaction flow, and banks need this technology.
It’s very exciting for us. We’ve just raised $14 million dollars from some exciting backers such as the Carsales Network and Westpac Bank.