InTechBOS had the pleasure to chat with YapStone’s GM of Rent Michael Denbeau during the Techweek LA Conference. Throughout the interview, Michael shares with us where YapStone is headed next as relates to innovating industries that use paper checks as the primary form of payment.
Q: Do you like the direction that YapStone is heading towards?
A: The types of markets that we go after at YapStone are really markets where we view paper checks as the enemy; we’re not a typical ISO that’s going after dry cleaners or restaurants. We want to focus on industries where we’re not banging our heads against competitors to try and swap market share in a mature market, but instead, going after markets that we view as white space. These respective markets still process the primary form of payments of either check or cash. That got YapStone into the apartment industry which is a multi-hundred billion dollar industry. This is what fueled our early growth and moved us into the vacation rental space which also is a one hundred billion dollar a year market. Every other industry is able to make a credit card payment except for apartment rentals and vacation rentals which are large ticket transactions in which there are some risks involved with making payments and the audit trail for making electronic payments is important. In addition, a recent acquisition by YapStone has moved the firm into the non-profit giving space with parrish pay, which is the biggest payment provider for catholic churches in the US and we wanted to be in industries where the primary form of payment is paper checks. It’s really about being in the check based industries to streamline those payment processes that don’t currently have electronic payment options currently.
Q: Does YapStone plan on getting into the commercial properties market?
A: We do process for commercial buildings, malls currently, but historically this has not been a huge focus of our business just because on the long term rental side, we get a higher density of payments in a multi-family building versus in a strip mall that may have 5 tenants. It’s all about prioritizing our growth initiatives.
Q: What is the marketing outreach process for YapStone’s customers?
A: It’s different for different verticals. For the rent payment business that I’m responsible for, the sales side is a mix of inside sales, a lot of cold calls and we have some sales reps that are geographically located in a certain region. Honestly, you don’t have to have a great deal of face to face with a variety of remote options available such as WebEx, GotoMeeting sessions to reach customers. The industries we want to be in are white space where there are millions of rented properties on the long term rental side across the country and can google any city to find many property managers and just give them a call. On the vacation side, the selling has been done historically by integrated partnerships that YapStone developed. We have the main vacation rental accounting software for companies that utilize YapStone as their main gateway and merchant provider and using them as indirect sales channels help with access to property managers but also to small landlords as well that may not have access to vacation rental software.
Q: Why should landlords use YapStone instead of PayPal?
A: In terms of the industries that we’re in now, we’re very knowledgeable in terms of the industry best practices and understanding the unique business rules and requirements that the native software integrations that we have to use accounting software as well as the nuances for different card regulations such as charging a fee to a renter for payment and also providing the overall account management, customer support that these large organizations within our industry requires. It’s not an umbrella solution tailored to small businesses like PayPal. PayPal has a great product, but it’s more focused towards individuals, peer to peer, but not as sophisticated towards a particular industry. So YapStone is more geared towards our industry niches and requirements.
Q: Is YapStone geographically focused?
No, we’re nationwide. On the web payment side, our properties are similar to the U.S. population as we’re in Texas, California, Florida, Chicago, D.C. and so forth. We’re located in all 50 states, but our concentrations primarily mirror the US population.
Q: Why leave the financial services industry and join a startup such as YapStone?
I basically had a career in Investment banking and did it for over 13 years. What caused me to move out of the industry was the downturn of the market and it wasn’t fun anymore. There were too many regulations, compensation came down dramatically and one was expected to maintain the same pace with the current industry climate. Then I started realizing my passion for technology to continue to intellectually challenge myself, but what really attracted me to YapStone, was the environment had a startup feel due to the growth and the cool things that YapStone is doing. YapStone is fantastic that it’s a market leader and is still growing like a weed.
Q: Is YapStone Hiring and where?
A: We’re massively hiring across the board. The focal point of the hiring is more in the software development area. But we’re hiring across the board in Sales, Marketing, Operations, Product and software engineering. We have so many business objectives that we cannot hire fast enough. In Santa Monica, we’re moving into a new office as we outgrew our old space next year as well as Walnut Creek, CA. So yes, we’re aggressively hiring!