YapStone Raises Over $70 Million in Series C Funding
[“YapStone Raises Over $70 Million in Series C Funding” originally appeared in PR Newswire]
YapStone, a leader in global payments for large marketplaces, announced the first closing in a Series C funding round, raising $71 million. Premji Invest led the round and was joined by several high-profile investors, including Mastercard and existing investors, Accel and Meritech Capital Partners.
“YapStone has grown over 35 percent annually for the past decade and 2017’s growth was exceptional,” says Tom Villante, Co-Founder and CEO of YapStone. “This funding will help us grow our leadership position in serving global marketplaces and software companies, utilizing new technologies in expanded geographies.”
YapStone’s growing portfolio of impactful payment-based products has driven strong growth among enterprise customers, particularly in the explosive sharing economy marketplace space. This latest funding round will give YapStone the flexibility to significantly expand its innovative product offering, greatly broaden its geographic footprint and allow the company to aggressively pursue mergers and acquisitions to accelerate growth.
“Premji invests in private companies with all the right ingredients to become thriving public companies,” says Sandesh Patnam, Lead U.S. Partner at Premji Invest. “YapStone’s comprehensive approach to payments makes this investment very exciting to us and we look forward to significant acceleration in the coming years.”
YapStone’s configurable payment features enable marketplace and software customers to monetize transactions flowing through their platforms and improve conversion while minimizing capital and operational expense. Customers can auto on-board in seconds and take advantage of the company’s full range of payment methods for consumers, flexible global payouts to merchants, instant and deferred funding, and sophisticated split payments functionality.
Financial Technology Partners LP and FTP Securities LLC (together “FT Partners”) served as exclusive strategic and financial advisor to YapStone on this transaction.
Online payments firm YapStone to create 200 jobs in Co Louth
[“Online payment firm YapStone to create 200 jobs in Co Louth” originally appeared in The Irish Times and is written by Charlie Taylor.]
Global online payments firm YapStone is to create 200 jobs in Ireland as part of a (€41 million) investment here.
The company, which first established operations in Ireland in 2012, officially opened a new 16,000 square-foot international headquarters in Drogheda, Co Louth last year where it currently employs 125 people.
YapStone said it had decided to grow its Irish presence by establishing a Product Engineering development centre at its Drogheda facility with recruitment commencing in early 2018 for over 200 highly skilled engineering and technology roles over the next five years.
“Partnering with the Irish Government is one of the best decisions our leadership team has made,” says Tom Villante, co-founder and chief executive of the company. “We have hired tremendous talent in Ireland, and they have played a major role in YapStone’s success and international expansion. It was a natural decision for us to expand our investment in Irish talent into technology.”
The California-headquartered company, which has raised over €115 million in funding since it was established in 1999, processes $15 Billion in payment volume annually.
YapStone provides web and mobile payment solutions for targeted markets, including holiday and apartment rentals, commercial real estate, and self-storage.
YapStone recognized as one of the 2017 San Francisco Bay Area’s Best and Brightest Companies to Work For®
We are happy to announce that YapStone has been recognized as one of the 2017 San Francisco Bay Area’s Best and Brightest Companies to Work For® by the National Association for Business Resources. Recipients of these awards are noted as doing their part to reflect the Best and Brightest Awards guiding principles: Better Business. Richer Lives. Stronger Communities.
Rachel McCarty, HR Manager, accepted the award on YapStone’s behalf at the awards gala on October 27th, 2017 at the Hotel Nikko in Union Square. See the full list of 2017 winners HERE.
YapStone Named a 2017 Deloitte Technology Fast 500™ Company
YapStone is excited to be named a 2017 Deloitte Technology Fast 500™ company – the annual ranking of the fastest growing North American companies in technology, media, telecommunications, life sciences, and energy tech. The ranked companies are disrupting the technology industry by combining technological innovation, entrepreneurship, and rapid growth.
Learn more about the Deloitte Fast 500™ and see the other companies that made the 2017 ranking HERE.
YapStone Marketing Team Recognized as a 2017 MarCom Gold Award Winner
YapStone’s marketing team was recently recognized as a MarCom 2017 gold award winner for the “Under One Roof – A Collection of RentPayment Stories” marketing campaign. The MarCom awards honor excellence in marketing and communication. The Under One Roof campaign was a resident promotion for RentPayment that ran from March 2017 – October 2017. RentPayment is a service of YapStone and the leading payment solution in the multifamily industry.
Learn more about the MarCom awards HERE.
YapStone Named to Los Angeles Business Journal 2017 Fastest Growing Private Companies List
We are pleased to announce that YapStone has been named a 2017 Fastest Growing Private Company by the Los Angeles Business Journal. This is the third consecutive year YapStone has been named to this list. Blake Downey, Sr. Sales & Business Development Executive, accepted the award on behalf of YapStone at a ceremony held in Los Angeles, CA on November 7th.
YapStone Named to San Francisco Business Times 100 Fastest Growing Private Companies List for Fifth Time
We are happy to announce that YapStone was named on the San Francisco Business Times 2017 list of the 100 Fastest Growing Private Companies in the Bay Area. This is the fifth year that YapStone has been named to this list.
Companies on the San Francisco Business Times 100 Fastest Growing Private Companies list are all privately owned, were required to be in business for the entire year of 2014 and have generated revenues in excess of $200,000, the starting point for their comparison. They reviewed the financial details of each organization’s business operations in 2014, 2015, and 2016. The information was extensively analyzed and verified by independent certification.
The 2018 Wealthfront Career Launching Companies List
[“The 2018 Wealthfront Career Launching Companies List” originally appeared on Wealthfront.com and is written by Andy Rachleff.]
Today we are pleased to present our sixth annual list of information technology companies where young people should start their careers. We publish this list because it is our responsibility as a financial advisor to provide the advice that maximizes your net worth. As proud as we are of our financial planning and investment services, we think we can add even more value by helping you start your career on the right foot. Choosing the right job can add far more to your ultimate net worth than making good planning or investment decisions.
We believe the companies we list each year are the ideal places for young people to start their careers because they are all highly likely to turn into large businesses, and nothing early in your career is more important than achieving success — and nothing signals success more than working for a successful company. For a complete explanation of this logic, it’s important that you read the post that accompanied our original list.
To qualify for our list of US based mid sized companies with momentum, a company must be privately held, have a revenue run rate by year end of between $20 million and $300 million, be on a trajectory to grow at a rate in excess of 50% for at least the next three or four years and have compelling unit economics. Selling a product at very low margins can lead to rapid revenue growth, but it doesn’t necessarily imply a great long-term business.
We built our list by surveying partners of the following 13 premier venture capital firms: Accel Partners, Andreessen Horowitz, Benchmark, DAG Ventures, Greylock Partners, Index Ventures, Lightspeed, Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Matrix Partners, Ribbit Capital, Sequoia Capital, Social Capital and Spark Capital. As always we may have missed a few companies, but we feel confident that our list is pretty all-encompassing.
Changes Since Last Year
This year’s list includes 147 companies, up 15 from last year’s 132. We added 35 new companies, which is about in line with our six-year average. We dropped 20 companies, which includes 5 that went public, 4 that were acquired, 3 that grew beyond the $300 million revenue cap, and only 8 that experienced growth that was too slow to continue to qualify (a much smaller number than last year and below the six-year average).
Once again, a smaller percentage than you might expect of the new additions (43%) were consumer companies. A much lower percentage than last year of the new additions are based in the Bay Area (54% vs. 79%). Only 32% of the new Bay Area companies are located south of San Francisco (the traditional Silicon Valley), which is well below last year’s 50%. After a one year pause, San Francisco is back to gaining share. New York had a strong showing with 8 new additions, which is a much higher percentage than it has represented in the past.
The number of IPOs remained very low at only 5, consistent with last year’s all time low of 2. There were also very few company sales. Finally, we had a very small number of drops from the list due to slowing growth relative to previous years.
Other Fun Facts
As usual, the majority of the companies are based in the San Francisco Bay Area (61%) and the Bay Area maintained its share from last year. The majority of the Bay Area companies (67%) are still located in San Francisco rather than Silicon Valley, and for the first time in three years, San Francisco gained share and is now close to its peak of 70% in 2015.
No geography other than New York gained share this past year. While other geographies may be experiencing an increased level of startup activity, it still appears that the more successful companies are likely to be based near Silicon Valley. This means you should seriously consider moving to the Bay Area to launch your career and consider moving home to start your own company once you’ve gained the halo and experience.
Recognition of northeast as e-payments cluster could create 600 jobs
[“Recognition of northest as e-payments cluster could create 600 jobs” originally appeared in the Irish Times and is written by Peter Hamilton.]
Some 600 jobs could be created if the area surrounding Dundalk and Drogheda if the area is recognised as a cluster for e-payments companies, says a local industry group.
According to M1 Payments Corridor, the indigenous jobs could be created by 2021 if their bid to build the northeast into an internationally recognised cluster is successful.
With that goal in mind, the group has applied for €4 million in funding from Enterprise Ireland to help develop the brand and win out over other counties with established e-payment companies including Cork and Kerry.
Areas around Dundalk and Drogheda have attracted multinational payments companies in the past number of years including PayPal, State Street and Coca-Cola International Services. Following this, an enterprise hub in Drogheda saw an opportunity to brand the north-east as a digital payments zone.
“We examined three or four different sectors and the payments one jumped out,” said Breanndán Casey, business development manager at The Mill – Drogheda’s enterprise hub.
“In the past Drogheda and Dundalk would have been competing with each other, but now there’s a recognition that they need to work together,” he said.
The Mill, itself established only three years ago, “was recognition that we needed somewhere to help start-ups and develop businesses”, according to Mr Casey.
“There’s no way without collaboration from the M1 Payments Corridor that we would have got Enterprise Ireland support,” he said.
“There were other fintech companies in the region that we partnered with early on and that gave us access to their UK customer base which helped us grow a lot faster.”
Mr O’Rourke’s software company currently employs 15 people based out of The Mill.
In addition to creating new jobs in the northeast, the M1 Payments Corridor hopes to use any funding to grow pre-incubator programmes, training programmes and collaboration opportunities between small and medium enterprises and multinationals that have invested in Ireland.
Government agency grants and philanthropic donations from companies operating in the region led to the foundation of The Mill. The hub has been successful in its mission to incubate companies with one such enterprise, Yapstone, now employing over 130 people in Drogheda having started in The Mill with 10 employees.
Another company hoping to “graduate” from The Mill next year is fintech start up Aphix Software. Graham O’Rourke, the company’s chief executive, said The Mill was “formative” in building his company and that without the M1 Payments Corridor, Aphix’s growth would have been slower.
Payment Processes Have Changed-Here Are The 3 Rules to Use for Defining Success Payments
[“Payment Processes Have Changed – Here Are The 3 Rules to Use for Defining Success Payments” originally appeared on Inc. and is written by Andrew Medal.]
Remember when a “purchase” consisted of waiting in a check-out line, making small-talk with a cashier, and handing over physical dollar bills and coins? Thinking back, it seems like a simpler time. Now, however, the entire commerce purchasing process has changed drastically. Now, the future of retail is here and it has no time for archaic systems that slow customers and business down.
The ecommerce world is dynamic. New technologies, including artificial intelligence, are changing the way both consumers and ecommerce businesses approach retail. Brick-and-mortar retailers have been forced to adapt their models to keep pace with an online and mobile-first world.
Consumers expect business owners to take their need for convenience into consideration. If a consumer lands on an ecommerce checking page and is required to fill out several forms and complete multiple captcha tests within a time span of ten minutes, they’ll likely abandon their carts in favor for a competitive site with a more streamlined process.
It’s hard enough to break through the noise of the Internet and convince consumers to visit your site; if you subsequently lose them due to an outdated payment system, you’ll have to work twice as hard to convince them to come back. Failing to implement cutting-edge payment systems that take into consideration the shifts in consumer behavior not only slows business growth, it has the potential to squash it altogether.
Small ecommerce retailers don’t have the time or capital to run clunky payment systems that take too much time to process. Luckily, there are emerging payment platforms that enable ecommerce organizations across verticals to offer seamless and hassle-free check-out procedure.
YapStone, helmed by tech futurist Tom Villante, is one company changing the online payment solutions game. Because of both their innovation and expertise in facilitating complex payment requisites for online marketplaces, YapStone has managed to rise to the top in this area and as a result be named on INC. 5000’s list of the Fastest Growing Companies in America for ten consecutive years.
Here are a few lessons I learned from Villante that any online business owner should consider when starting a new payment system:
1. Simplicity is vital.
“If you are an e-commerce company, you must make it your constant mission to improve your online customer experience and conversion,” says Villante. Too many businesses suffer from shopping cart abandonment, and its up to individual organizations to look at these abandonment rates and find the source of the site issue. High abandonment rates are usually not coincidental–they point to a larger issue regarding the checkout procedure.
To keep shopping cart inadequacies from stealing sales, follow this simple checklist:
Prioritization of mobile check-out version over a desktop one
Readily available social proof of past customer satisfaction on the checkout page
Clean and intuitive checkout page design
Simple account sign-up steps
Assurance of customer privacy
2. Chargebacks can kill.
Nothing hurts a business more than making a dollar and, subsequently, returning that same dollar to the consumer. Not only do chargebacks affect a business’s bottom-line, but they also hurt brand perception, because they indicate dissatisfaction with a product or, even worse, fraud. For the organization, chargebacks are also accompanied by an additional processing fee. Although the average fee settles at around $20 per transaction, that $20 charge adds up quickly if an organization is forced to fulfill refunds on a regular basis.
As more consumers depend on digital shopping, chargebacks will become increasingly common. With ecommerce, consumers don’t have the chance to actually see, touch, or try out a product before buying. While they are not preventable altogether, organizations do have some control regarding their frequency.
To diminish the volume of chargebacks, prioritize the following:
Implementation of proper cancellation, return, or refund policies.
Employment of an expert payment partner that can sufficiently activate risk and fraud protection measures
An undeterred focus on high quality and immediate customer service
3. A merchant of record is necessary for protection.
Marketplace business owners have to secure a merchant of record (MOR) that is responsible for every customer-to-seller transaction. Additionally, the MOR oversees the monitoring systems in designed to handle risk and fraudulent activity.
Partnering with a payments provider to serve as your MOR is the first step to ensuring the exchange of funds is facilitated efficiently.
Enterprise growth hinges on successful relationships. When the relationship between the business and customer is solid, both sides thrive. While deciding on a product to offer in the marketplace is one of the first things a CEO hopeful must decide, very quickly after that decision must come the plans for how that product will be purchased on the marketplace. Learning the intricacies of a payment system and how it functions for your specific business is essential in accelerating the success of your enterprise in the marketplace.
3 Crucial Payment Lessons for E-Commerce Businesses
[“3 Crucial Payment Lessons for E-Commerce Businesses” originally appeared on Forbes and is written by Jia Wertz.]
Most would agree that starting a business is a huge undertaking; however, the reward bringing it to fruition makes all the birthing pains worth it. The challenges unfortunately don’t stop at the launch of your business – now you must deal with the issues that arise from trying to manage, grow and sustain it.
E-commerce businesses come with their own unique set of challenges. Customer convenience must always be top of mind for your business, and how you receive and handle payment is critical not only to your customer’s experience, but to the business’ success.
As a business owner, you’re likely very passionate and well-versed about your industry, but chances are you are not a payments expert. You want your business to be successful and make big money, but you probably haven’t spent nearly enough time brainstorming how your business would receive and deal with that money. Unfortunately, this neglect gets many high-growth businesses into trouble because invariably they are not prepared for all the financial implications and compliance rules that come with running a growing business.
Welcome to your next business related hurdle. With the knowledge that a misstep in this area could cost you the race, payment education is imperative.
I recently sat down with Tom Villante, whose company YapStone is excelling in the area of online and mobile payment solutions. YapStone’s success has been widely recognized, including being named on INC. 5000 list of the Fastest Growing Companies in America for ten consecutive years; one of the reasons for the business’ explosive growth is that they specialize in aiding online marketplaces with complex payment requisites.
Villante broke down exactly what new online marketplaces need to consider when it comes to building a successful payment solution.
Simplify Your Online Checkout System
Online shopping cart abandonment should be avoided at all cost. If your customers are making it to your shopping cart only to abandon you in the process, you must take notice of what’s going wrong and course correct.
Villante says, “If you are an e-commerce company, you must make it your constant mission to improve your online customer experience and conversion. Prioritizing mobile over desktop methods, social proof of customer satisfaction, check out page design, account information input practices, and customer privacy are the top ways to ensure your business doesn’t allow the fish off the hook. With all the effort and creativity it takes to create legitimate website traffic, don’t allow shopping cart abandonment issues to steal sales from your company.”
Chargebacks Could Kill Your Business If You’re Not Careful
E-commerce businesses are constantly dealing with the transfer of funds from the customer to the seller, but the reverse of this transaction is also something every online business must deal with.
Whether it’s customer dissatisfaction or fraud, many businesses deal with something called “chargebacks,” which Villante describes as the dispute of a charge by the customer that is either the result of product disapproval, legitimate customer service issue, or fraudulent activity to obtain a refund. No matter the case, your earned money is on its way back to the customer and sometimes with a fee.
These fees can quickly add up and impact the bottom line of any growing business. “Furthermore, depending on the scale of your business’ sales, chargebacks and related fees can equal hundreds of thousands of dollars each month,” Villante warns.
Risks are inherent to marketplace activity and chargebacks will most likely increase as we advance digitally rather than recede; however, Villante insists that the most productive way for a business to deal with this certainty is to do their best to prevent it from occurring in the first place. Securing a merchant of record is one way to do that.
Secure a Merchant of Record
Among the list of “musts” for every e-commerce business is securing a merchant of record. The merchant of record is summed up as the liable organization for every single customer to seller transaction, including all credit card fees associated with company transactions and monitoring systems that deal with the risks and frauds that come along with e-commerce business. Basically, a MOR assumes a lot of your risk.
Building an infrastructure for, or partnering with a payments provider to serve as your MOR is more important than ever to successful and efficient growth. Businesses aspire to grow and with that growth comes greater potential for loss. While not an entrepreneur’s initial concern, Villante doubles down on its importance because the more business you do, the greater the risk of loss. Accepting this reality should be paramount to every business owner.
Online businesses rise and fall under the construct that exchanging monies between the consumer and seller must be frictionless. There is no question that how that money is transferred becomes critical in ascertaining how strong the business to consumer relationship will be.
Strong relationships build stronger enterprises. If you are in it to win it, at some point you must look past the product to the system by which the product will be procured and disseminated. Learning the complexities of a payment system and how it functions in your business is essential in securing your spot in the marketplace stratosphere.
YapStone Has Made the Inc. 5000 List of Fastest Growing Companies for an Entire Decade
Fintech leader, YapStone, has joined an elite group of high-growth companies who have been ranked on the Inc. 5000 List for ten consecutive years.
Walnut Creek, California (PRWEB) August 17, 2017
The Inc. 5000 List of Fastest-Growing Private Companies has been announced for 2017 and YapStone has joined the ranks for the 10th consecutive year, a rare distinction amongst the country’s high-growth companies.
“We call it the 10X Club,” says Eric Schurenberg, President and Editor-in-Chief at Inc. Magazine. “Fewer than half of one percent of Inc. 5000 honorees have ever achieved this milestone.”
YapStone’s growth shows no signs of slowing down. The fintech leader, known for powering payments for global marketplaces and large vertical markets, opened a new international headquarters in Drogheda, Ireland this past year and has become a magnet for elite talent, both in the United States and Europe.
“We are honored to join Inc.’s 10X Club,” says Tom Villante, YapStone’s Co-founder and CEO. “This sustained growth over such a long period of time is a testament to our incredible team, who are constantly innovating new ways to serve our customers better.”
As detailed in Inc.’s official list, YapStone was ranked #2540, having grown 139 percent over a three-year period. With an expanding payments platform, innovative payment technologies and cutting-edge customer onboarding features, the company is poised for steady and consistent growth in the coming years.
To view YapStone’s featured profile on Inc.com, please click here.
YapStone Named #19 on the San Francisco Business Times Top 50 East Bay Private Companies List
We are happy to announce that YapStone was named #19 on the San Francisco Business Times top 50 East Bay private companies list. The San Francisco Business Times ranked East Bay private companies by companywide revenue in fiscal year 2016. The top 50 Alameda County and Contra Costa County-based companies together generated nearly $17 billion in revenue. Other companies on the list include 24 Hour Fitness USA Inc., Grocery Outlet Inc., and The Wine Group.
See the full list here.
How Fintech Companies Upgrade Their Customer Experience
[“How Fintech Companies Upgrade Their Customer Experience” originally appeared in CHIPIN and is written by Daniel.]
The leaders in the financial technology realm are all but exhaustive in their customer experience strategies. This is because they recognize the gravity of treating people with a high level of respect while building business relationships. Industry players are not just your competition – they set the standards. 80% of financial institutions believe their business is at risk to innovations. If you can meet or beat best practices, your annual reports will thank you.
If you want to improve your rapport with customers to see a skyrocket in your own fintech business, find out what the authorities are doing to upgrade the experience they provide.
They Prioritize Security
One of the most notable services fintech companies offer is first-rate information security. You cannot overestimate the magnitude of keeping customers’ financial information safe and preventing hacks and data breaches. Know what the necessary steps for a quality security experience are so that you can implement them.
What do you need to include in your customers’ online interactions?
- Announce the existence of data encryption
- Provide security checks
- Include multiple verification processes
As the customer moves through your website or mobile app, the above signals prove to show them two valuable things. The first one – You prioritize and protect their data. Customers are ready to enter PINs and answer security questions, they even appreciate that you ask them to provide such confirmations because they value their financial data security.
The second one – You confirm your ability to provide a safe environment to share sensitive information and build customer trust.
Not only should you provide trust signals, but you should also outline your processes in one place that is easy to spot for customers to learn more. This is an invaluable piece of a trusted security strategy for fintech companies.
In addition to offering real-time security signals, Stripe clearly outlines their security processes on a public website page that anyone can access. In addition, they invite the reader to ask questions if anything about their security operations is confusing. Give your customers as many chances as possible to see that you prioritize information safety.
They Understand the Value of Transparency
One of the main prerequisites of trusting relationships with a fintech service provider is transparent operations. Why? When financial services are leveraged, customers must be confident in their chosen solution. They need to know what you’re doing with their money and their information. And sharing your security data is part of transparency.
So, completely avoid hidden tricks, vagueness, and unclear processes. Outline your operations publically and in detail; this is demanded by anyone willing to leverage financial services, especially competition is tough and your rivals are just a few clicks away.
Yapstone hosts company news on an easy-to-find page on their main website separate from their blog. This way, they can provide readers with important company information without distracting from the tips and tricks on the blog. Share your truth with prospects and customers to allow them the opportunity to learn more about you.
They Provide the Highest Flexibility Possible
If any industry is competitive, it’s financial technology – over 1,000 fintech companies exist as of September, 2016. The leading brands know they must continually adjust their product and service offerings to satisfy ever-evolving customer needs. They make alterations to their business strategies that keep them on the cutting edge of those needs.
The top fintech companies are probably working on modifications to their operations at this very moment; they’re moving to omnichannel transactions, testing new features, and polishing UX to provide a more convenient customer experience. Seamless transition between mobile and computer is provided. Glitches in the system are ironed out. The little things like button color and website copy are optimized.
Takeaway: You need to invest your time and efforts to facilitate the best possible customer journey.
Undoubtedly, mobile devices are already an extremely popular communication tool and experts predict they will gain momentum across many areas of business: mobile payments, lifestyle apps, marketing automation, Internet of Things to name a few.
You should leverage apps, SMS, mobile browsing, and all aspects of the omnichannel transaction process to interact with customers. Be safe and assume that everyone who lands on your website is viewing from a PC and a mobile device.
Braintree offers diverse options like Apple Pay for iOS, Paypal, Android Pay, Visa Checkout, and more. In this way, they appeal to mobile and PC customers, enticing companies to get in where technology allows, rather than start with basic options where they have to utilize half a dozen tools to satisfy their market.
They Know Personalization Leads to Conversion
All customers are real people; they need to be treated as such. With the rapid development of artificial intelligence (AI), top fintech companies are taking automation to the next level. Through automated personalization to the customer experience, you can up your game.
Many companies offer customized product and service recommendations on how to optimize their customers’ finance. Sometimes this advice bypasses the need for a customer inquiry, simply showing consumers the next best step to financial health. Recommendations can include anything from promotional partner offers and new products and services to articles to read and social media pages to follow. Start offering recommendations to your customers based on what would help them the most.
Credit Karma provides registered users with personalized recommendations, based on current accounts and credit score, to improve their financial health through offers from partners. While the company surely earns a profit from these conversions, they also provide the type of value the customer is already looking for. When launching a personalization strategy, keep your operations relevant and helpful.
Building upon the application of personalization, artificial intelligence is no longer a futuristic dream. Worldwide, financial service companies employ AI technologies to reduce costs and improve their services. Machine learning systems have officially disrupted the fintech industry.
Wealthfront has launched AI capabilities that track account activities on its own system and in other, integrated services. They believe that the next decade will reign in an era where software will interact directly with consumers to deliver more personalized, relevant advice than ever before possible.
Making your way through the world of fintech is challenging. Luckily, looking at the leaders you can derive powerful insights – they know what customers want, which is why they’re so successful. Explore what approaches the best in your industry are applying, study your customers carefully, and implement the latest technologies in your own operations.
Good Neighbors by Faith Barnidge: Provide meals for STAND! to help victims of violence
[“Good Neighbors by Faith Barnidge: Provide meals for STAND! to help victims of violence” originally appeared in the East Bay Times.]
The STAND! For Families Free of Violence crisis line offers support for victims of abuse 24 hours a day at 888-215-5555. The Rollie Mullen Center provides immediate and ongoing residential shelter for women and minor children who are supported in their struggle to survive and seek a brighter future.
STAND! provides all of Contra Costa County residents’ referrals to resources to help families escape the circle of violence and lead safe, productive lives.
To learn more about the work of this local respected organization, contact representatives of the volunteer Speaker’s Bureau, who will provide free, 45- to 60-minute presentations to community organizations and business or nonprofit groups.
Help is needed for meals to be donated for lunch and dinner to the residents of the Rollie Mullen Center during a much-needed kitchen renovation scheduled through July 7. Meals must be fully prepared in advance for 18 adults and six children, and in disposable containers. STAND! volunteers will pick up and deliver the meals to this safe location. Call the crisis line to schedule your donation.
Save the date! The 25th annual “Rebuilding Lives” luncheon to show support and raise funds for STAND! programs will be held from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 12, at Crowne Plaza Hotel, 45 John Glenn Drive, in Concord.
The Danville-Alamo-Walnut Creek branch of the American Association of University Women (AAUW) recently awarded $2,500 scholarships to local women who plan to pursue post-graduate degrees.
The awardees included Sydney Corona, a Saint Mary’s College graduate pursuing a doctoral degree at the California Institute of Technology; Erin Delker, currently earning a Ph.D in public health at both UC San Diego and San Diego State; Melissa Fife, currently enrolled in a master’s program at the University of Utah; Rebecca Medwedeff, who is pursuing a BA in art and a Minor in psychology from Marylhurst University; and Anna Vojvoda, a second-year electrical engineering student at Cal Poly. For more information, visit http://daw-ca.aauw.net/2017-scholarship/.
The Contra Costa Crisis Center answers 211 and crisis lines 24 hours a day. Their homeless outreach team approaches homeless persons in the field to coordinate support with Contra Costa County agencies.
Crisis Center projects coordinator Dee Dee Robillard recently arranged for employee volunteers from Yapstone, a Walnut Creek-based online payment service provider, to purchase and donate deodorant, Band-aids, baby wipes, toothbrush and toothpaste, and assemble kits for the outreach team to use as a conversation starter with local homeless persons, with the goal of connecting them with needed services.
Yapstone encourages employees with paid time off to volunteer in the community. Yapstone also plans to create a video and interview Crisis Center staff on how volunteerism impacts the community, to internally promote employee volunteering.
The Concord Historical Society is accepting donations to build a brick patio around the bronze sculpture of founding father, Don Salvio Pacheco, which will be unveiled at the July 4 celebration of the city’s 150th anniversary in Todos Santos Plaza in 2018.
Engraved bricks cost $150, and will enable donors to mark their place in Concord history. Visit www.concordhistorical.org for more information.
Lafayette Juniors raises funds and offer service in support of other nonprofits that serve women, families and seniors. Contributions totaling $60,000 were recently awarded to Contra Costa Interfaith Housing, Alternative Family Services, The Taylor Family Foundation, and Trinity Center in a special ceremony at the Lafayette Community Center.
Lafayette Juniors raises funds at the Fall Rummage Sale and the spring Kitchen Tour.
The major beneficiary, Contra Costa Interfaith Housing, received $30,000. The nonprofit has provided permanent, affordable housing and support services to homeless and at-risk families and individuals since 1991.
“All of us at CCIH are extremely grateful for Lafayette Juniors’ partnership. These funds are going to support over 100 formerly homeless and low-income children with daily academic tutoring programs, preschool, teen clubs, summer camps and enrichment activities,” said Deanne Pearn, executive director of Contra Costa Interfaith Housing.
“The Juniors are helping us end homelessness among the most vulnerable families in our community, providing the same comprehensive support we provide to our own families to help our residents and their children lead rich and meaningful lives,” she said.
Lafayette Juniors also donated $15,000 to Alternative Family Services, and $7,500 each to The Taylor Family Foundation and Trinity Center.
Lafayette Juniors is accepting applications until July 31 from all nonprofits in Contra Costa and neighboring counties who serve women, families and seniors and others requiring assistance. The Juniors will select four organizations from the applicant pool to become their 2017–2018 beneficiaries.To obtain an application or learn more about the Lafayette Juniors, visit www.lafayettejuniors.org.
12 US companies flying the flag in Ireland
[“12 US Companies flying the flag in Ireland” originally appeared in The Irish Times and is written by Sandra O’Connell.]
Ireland has long been a magnet for US direct investment. Here are 12 tech firms celebrating Independence Day in Ireland.
A developer of mathematical computing software for engineers and scientists, MathWorks was founded in 1984 and is headquartered in Natick, Massachusetts. The company’s flagship products, MATLAB and Simulink, are used throughout the automotive, aerospace, communications, electronics, and industrial automation industries as fundamental tools for research and development. The company employs more than 3,500 people around the world while its centre in Galway, launched last year, supports the company’s EMEA markets. Speaking at the time of its arrival, Richard Haxby, managing director, MathWorks Galway, said: “We selected Ireland because it has built a core competency in shared sales and services-centre operations. Additionally, Galway has access to a diverse multi-lingual workforce, and it has a university system that attracts talent from all over Europe.”
Headquartered in San José, California, Wrike is a software-as-a-service (SaaS) work-management platform with millions of users across 120 countries. One of the fastest growing companies on Deloitte’s Technology Fast 500 List in 2016, Wrike earned a number of best-workplace awards before announcing 30 new jobs and a bigger office in Dublin last October – in addition to the 25 people it already employed here. The office will support its ongoing expansion into Europe, one of Wrike’s fastest-growing markets, showing 30 per cent year-on-year growth. The company expects to grow staff here to 80 over the next three years – well above the 50 jobs projected when it selected Dublin as its European headquarters in 2015.
Sojern has specialised in online travel for more than a decade, delivering more than $7 billion (€6.2 billion) in direct bookings for its travel industry clients. The platform uses proprietary data science methods to examine real-time information from search engines, airlines and hotel properties. In April, the travel industry performance marketing engine announced the opening of its new office in Dublin, focused on servicing the European market with its RevDirect offering, a multi-channel, pay-for-performance, direct bookings solution for independent hoteliers. The newly opened office is led by regional sales director EMEA Angela Canny, who says: “With a history of hosting some of the world’s tech giants such as Google and Facebook and an impressive local talent pool, Dublin is the perfect location to serve the European market.”
A leading next-generation provider of wholesale real-time communications and VoIP services, Telnyx opened an office in Dublin last year as the Chicago-headquartered start-up’s second branch. Telnyx plans to hire up to 20 engineers in the next year to support global deployments. The company is also building a technical network operations centre and a service centre to offer customers more coverage and availability across a wide range of time zones and languages with an innovative à-la-carte pricing structure that allows them pay only for what they use – no bundles, no contracts. Reports at the time said the business was attracted to Ireland by the availability of talented technology and communications personnel here.
US Company Ipswitch, which develops IT monitoring and security software, has chosen to locate its EMEA support and operations centre in Galway, with 60 jobs due within the next four years. The company is also locating its R&D and product development teams in Galway to provide capability specific to the EMEA region. The move was made to enable Ipswitch greatly increase its support for channel partners and customers across Europe in local languages and time zones. The privately owned company, which has its headquarters in Lexington, Massachusetts, employs more than 300 people in offices in the US, Europe, Asia and Latin America.
In February, mobile- and web-testing platform BrowserStack, a privately held company with offices in San Francisco and Mumbai, launched its mobile data centre in Dublin and announced its intention to employ more than 40 people within the next three years, attracted by what co-founder Ritesh Arora called the city’s “deep talent pool”. BrowserStack is a cloud-based service that allows web developers to test website changes across hundreds of possible combinations of mobile devices and platforms quickly, eliminating the need for expensive in-house testing infrastructure. It currently serves more than 35,000 customers, including Twitter, Microsoft, Airbnb and Mastercard.
In February, NGINX established a new EMEA operation in Cork. The company offers an application delivery platform in use on more than 180 million websites worldwide. More than half of the internet’s busiest websites rely on NGINX, including Airbnb, Box, Instagram, Netflix, Pinterest, SoundCloud, and Zappos. The company is headquartered in San Francisco, with offices in Moscow and London. The company currently employs more than 100 people and plans to create the same again in its Cork office, in such areas as sales, marketing, finance, business development, software architecture, engineering, and research and development. NGINX chief executive Gus Robertson said at the launch: “Cork is strongly aligned in culture and attitude with the values carried over from our global headquarters in San Francisco.”
Though headquartered in Raleigh, North Carolina, Red Hat is a US business with a local hero on board. A leading provider of open-source solutions, it announced plans in February to invest €12.7 million in a new project that will create up to 60 jobs in Waterford over four years. Red Hat’s Waterford office was established in 2014 following its acquisition of the cloud-based mobile software company FeedHenry – a spin-out from Waterford Institute of Technology. It currently serves as the company’s global hub for research and development into mobile-application-development technology. In addition to Waterford, Red Hat has two other offices in Ireland, in Cork and Dublin. Established in 1993, Red Hat has more than 85 offices globally and employs more than 10,000 people.
Long-established global technology company Pitney opened a new operations centre in Dublin in May, creating 100 jobs. The centre will house a multi-million euro R&D project focused on developing a next-generation e-commerce and payments platform for global brands. “Dublin’s rich mix of client services talent and language skills, combined with the excellent support that we’ve received from IDA Ireland, make it a great place for us to locate our client-support operation as well as our innovation team,” says Audrey Lynch, director of client operations for Europe at Pitney Bowes.
A leading all-in-one website publishing platform, Squarespace was started in its founder, Anthony Casalena’s, dorm room at the University of Maryland. Today it employs 600 people, with millions of websites created on its platform. Now based in New York city, the intuitive website publishing platform allows anyone to easily create professional blogs, web pages, stores, and galleries. In 2013, it announced its EMEA office in Dublin, because it “offers us a friendly, young, and talented workforce in a vibrant centre city location”, Casalena said at the time.
Last September, leading US-based fintech YapStone announced the opening of its international headquarters at a new, 16,000sq ft office in Drogheda. YapStone is a global provider of online and mobile payment solutions for sharing economy marketplaces such as HomeAway and VRBO, and thousands of apartment and vacation rental companies. YapStone processes more than $15 billion (€13.4 billion) in payment volume annually. The company has about 400 full-time employees. Ireland will have a full-service offering, including engineering, sales, customer service, and risk operations, as well as site security and reliability. The company forecasts 40-50 new hires in the Drogheda office over the coming years.
California-based augmented reality/4D company Daqri, which aims to transform the world of work, opened its European headquarters on Sir John Rogerson’s Quay in Dublin in 2014. Co-founder Gaia Dempsey said at the time: “Ireland is highly regarded as a country for excellence in innovation and technology making; it is the perfect location for our first international office, in Dublin. We are thrilled with the quality of technical expertise we have found here and have been working closely with the academic community, researchers and research centres to define innovative R&D programmes. Having strong interest from European customers in aerospace, energy, manufacturing and AEC sectors, including some based in Ireland, it made clear business sense to be based in Dublin.”
YapStone Named One of the Top 100 East Bay Private Companies by the San Francisco Business Times
We are excited to announce that YapStone was named one of the top 100 East Bay private companies by the San Francisco Business Times. The San Francisco Business Times ranked Bay Area private companies by companywide revenue in fiscal year 2016. YapStone was ranked #60 out of 100 companies named to the list. These top private companies generated $93 billion in revenue combined. Other companies on the list include Bechtel Corp., Uber Technologies Inc., and Levi Strauss & Co.
See the full list here.
Founders Need to Ignore the Naysayers to Disrupt Their Industries
[“Founders Need to Ignore the Naysayers to Disrupt Their Industries” originally appeared on TECH.CO and is written by Travis Wright.]
ndustry disruption is the ultimate goal of every innovator these days. And with all the acclaim and media hype surrounding game-changing companies, it’s easy to set out with the intent to “disrupt” at any and all costs. But this can be a dangerous game to play. If you’re not careful, your business model can soon get derailed and put you right back at square one.
If you want to truly disrupt, your business must have laser focus and an undying commitment to your product. Whatever the critics say, it’s important to stick to your guns and have the tenacity to explore every avenue for your go-to-market strategy.
Here are five companies that will change the way you look at innovation (and some surprising lessons we can learn from their success):
There’s nothing worse than being late for a meeting, jumping in your car, and realizing that your gas tank is on empty! Thankfully, that scenario is becoming a thing of the past. Booster partners with enterprises to allow their employees to request a refill on their app. All they have to do is park their car at work and leave the fuel cap open.
When they come back to their car at the end of their shift, it’s fueled up and ready to go (at a cheaper price per gallon, and with no subscription fee or delivery charge).
The Lesson: Keep it simple! You don’t have to be a mad scientist in order to innovate! You just have to identify a common problem and have the creative courage to solve it.
Keeping fit is no longer about running for miles on end or mindlessly lifting dumbbells. In fact, there are tons of creative fitness classes cropping up in big cities across the country – and ClassPass is making sure you know they exist in your area. This subscription-based platform allows users to take unlimited fitness classes at hundreds of studios near them.
Users can spice up their workouts by trying different kinds of exercises and seeing what they like best. They can even exercise according to their mood. Yoga when they need to unwind, or crossfit when they need to get fired up. At the same time, the platform subtly (but effectively) promotes their growing list of fitness studios by filling up their classes.
The Lesson: Create a scenario that benefits everyone. Being the middleman between two parties and offering them a win/win solution creates a win/win/win all round.
With the rise of the sharing economy has come the demand for more robust payment platforms. Since marketplaces typically bring together millions of buyers and sellers and then facilitate the transaction on their platform, these companies are in need of fintech innovation to manage the process securely and mitigate the risk.
The payment leaders at YapStone have stepped in to create a full service payments platform that maximizes payments functionality while minimizing risk. This fintech disrupter offers a custom payments solution inclusive of customer onboarding, payments processing, risk management, and a global customer support team
The Lesson: Innovation leads to innovation! When disruptors create, you need even more disruptors to support them behind the scenes. So if there’s an industry that’s exploding, figure out how you can use your area of expertise to help power these companies forward.
Whether you’re a vegetarian or die-hard carnivore, there’s one science-based fact that can’t be ignored: animal farming is one of the biggest environmental threats our planet faces today.
The team of scientists at Impossible Foods have set out to recreate the taste, smell, look, and textures of the foods we love by using sustainable proteins and nutrients. This will require significantly less land, water, energy, and emissions to produce – helping to tackle climate change.
The Lesson: Come up with new ways of offering the same product. Whether it’s a highly innovative, protein-based plant to replace meat sources, or an unusual way of product distribution or customer service, there’s still much that can be done in existing markets.
The Internet of Things isn’t just for the techiest among us. Particle has created developer kits that allow anyone to build their own physical prototypes that can connect things to the Internet. Using this technology, hobbyists can connect their coffee machine to their alarm clock, and professionals can innovate ways to make their workspace more efficient.
Those with disabilities, such as the Founder’s own father who is blind, can create a more comfortable environment for themselves, with a refrigerator that sends out the weekly shopping list and heating that comes on by itself.
The Lesson: Ignore the naysayers. IoT technology has come under fire from many analysts for its cost and security issues, but Particle stuck it out and has been hailed as one of the most disruptive companies of 2017. Stay true to your product and keep persevering anyway, it won’t be long before the market is ready.
This is just a handful of disruptive companies making waves in varying industries, and there are key lessons to be learned from them all. Think about the one that applies most to your business. Whether it’s offering a new way of delivering a similar product or providing necessary resources to new markets, innovation has many faces.
The Rise of Marketplace Companies is Calling for Fintech Innovation
“The Rise of Marketplace Companies is Calling for Fintech Innovation” originally appeared on TheNextWeb and is written by Melissa Thompson.
Some technologies and business models come and go. The list is long. Thankfully, typewriters, cassette tapes and drive-in movie theaters wound up in the recycling bin. Along with folding maps, dial-up modems and pagers. And remember waiting for a new episode of your favorite show to come out on cable? How painstaking was that?
But one business model that doesn’t seem to be going anywhere is the sharing economy and marketplace companies. We’ve gotten used to things being instant, available and easy. Don’t feel like cooking? Order organic tacos. Need some temp work done? Reach out to Upwork. Want a new mattress, computer, or couch? Hop online and buy it. Almost 70 percent of millennials prefer shopping online than going to a regular store.
And as for taxis and travel accommodation? Why would anyone book a standard, box-like room in a faceless hotel, or ride in a regular cab, when they can get a personalized car or luxury apartment cheaper and easier?
Changing how we live
In a very short time, marketplace companies have grown and forced traditional businesses to step up to the plate or fold. They’ve also changed the way we live, think and buy. More than one in five Americans have worked in the sharing economy already and pretty much all of us have used it at some point. Whether you’ve shared a ride, rented a condo, helped finance a new product, or done some sideline work from your laptop.
Most of us don’t hesitate to pay for services online. We never think about how companies like Lyft, HomeAway and Munchery have to shoulder a huge financial burden. When dreamed up in their Silicon Valley incubators, hotel rooms, or dorms, their CEOs weren’t thinking about establishing a secure payment structure. They were focused on changing a mindset, disrupting an industry, and offering a different way of doing things.
Could they have imagined how successful they would be? With the sharing economy estimated to account for $335 billion of revenue globally by 2025, probably not. They may not have banked on their model crossing the globe, spiking copycat companies, controversy, or a continuous rise in demand either.
An increasing number of transactions from different geographic regions using varied payment methods in multiple currencies is enough to make anyone’s head spin. As this happens, marketplace companies need more than a clever techie managing their backend. With the rise in hacking and threat of cyber security, they need robust payment solutions ensuring safe transactions for all parties involved.
Calling out for fintech innovation
Marketplaces causing so much noise means they’re also attracting attention from both legislators and fraudsters. They need to have an open book and provide a secure payment platform for their customers. Such is the magnitude of responsibility that you could actually look at what was a new method of transport, or helping pair of hands, and say they were fast becoming financial services companies, rather than marketplace ones.
Tom Villante, CEO of YapStone, a leading payment services provider for marketplace companies explains, “Airbnb has a separate company that is a payment company — as in it is a fully licensed payments company that only handles payments.” Uber also takes responsibility for its own financial operations. But only because these companies, valued in the billions, are so giant that they can afford to do so. Other marketplaces need the help of innovators like Elon Musk, Jack Dorsey, and YapStone’s Tom Villante.
A complex payments process
Marketplace companies have a particularly complex payment process. We’re not talking about a typical transaction between buyer and seller here. Their model involves the bringing together of thousands of sellers and millions of customers, causing multiple layers of complexity. They have to deal with issues like chargebacks and fraudulent purchases from creative cyber criminals adept at manipulating the system.
There’s also compliance with different regional legislation, acceptance of multiple payment methods and currencies and local competition laws. For a company that wants to allow people to rent out bikes, spare rooms, or run errands; this is not something they’re prepared to deal with. One wrong move could blow up in their face and potentially bankrupt their business. Says Villante, “a lot of marketplaces got big very fast and have no desire to be payments companies.”
When they outsource their payment platform to fintech innovators, they can focus on the business model that got them where they are today. Rather than worry about fraudulent transactions, payment processing, legislation and compliance. Fintech companies like YapStone were made for marketplaces as they grow up, minimizing the risk associated with these financial transactions.
Rather than tearing their hair out, marketplace CEOs can relax knowing that their revenues are handled by experienced professionals. As marketplaces have exploded, so have fintech solutions, with companies like YapStone now processing more than $17 billion in payments every year. And a whopping YOY growth rate of 40 percent.
Any signs of slowing down? Probably not. As more and more marketplace companies appear to attend our every need, more opportunities arise for fintech innovation. Disrupters working with disrupters (after all, how many banks have been forced to raise their games thanks to fintech innovators?) Marketplace companies are calling for fintech innovation and the partnership seems like a match made in heaven.
YapStone Named One of the Largest Fintech Companies in the Bay Area by the San Francisco Business Times
YapStone is excited to be recognized by the San Francisco Business Times as one of the largest Fintech companies in the Bay Area. YapStone was ranked number 13 out of 50 companies on this list. Companies were locally researched by Julia Cooper, San Francisco Business Times, and ranked by the number of Bay Area employees as of January 2017.