PYMNTS spoke with our CEO, Bruce Parker, to get the inside scoop on starting a company in honor of National Small Business Week. Read excerpts from the interview featured on PYMNTS.com below.
PYMNTS: As a thriving and fast-growing startup, what advice do you have for entrepreneurs who are on the verge of launching their first product or service?
Modo: Don’t fall in love with your plan, but do stay (madly) in love with your beliefs.
When we started Modo, we had a consumer-facing app that allowed people to combine their loyalty points, coupons, offers, discounts and credit cards at the point of sale. We soon realized that nobody wanted that app, but the payments technology behind it was unique and valuable.
We pivoted to helping banks, networks, FinTechs and processors become interoperable with each other and new emerging payments systems. The way we connect payment systems together today is [by] using the same basic ideas and technology from our first iteration. The plan fell apart, but what we believed we could (uniquely) do endured.
PYMNTS: What are some of the major takeaways from your first years of existence as a company?
Modo: Be who you are and structure your company accordingly. Just because everyone else has a certain structure for (fill-in-the-blank) doesn’t mean that’s what you ought to do too. At Modo, ideas were encouraged, thoughts were shared openly and freedom was never hindered or taken for granted. That worked, as we’ve grown to over 30 people with millions in revenues and billions in volume.
PYMNTS: Are there advantages to being a small business when compared to large, well-established corporations?
Modo: Large corporate partners often ask us “what it will take” to make a decision. Being able to respond in the moment and commit our resources and plans is a huge advantage, which just isn’t possible when you have to take things “up the chain.”
PYMNTS: As you grow and gain traction in your sector, how do you continue to stay agile and adaptive to change?
Modo: We encourage everyone to work on the things that they believe are the most important. We don’t always agree about what those are, so a leader has to make a call, but in general we get the benefit of a broadly based team evaluating what the highest priorities for Modo in the market are. We focus on getting hard evidence for what the market is struggling with and where [it needs] our help.
PYMNTS: How do you stay competitive as a small business in a world of large corporations? In other words, what main factor sets you apart?
Modo: Big versus small isn’t a real competitive factor for our vision of interoperability. We simply are focused on a different problem than the big, established companies. Modo could handle all of the payments volume for everyone around the world, and the big, entrenched players would still have lower costs and higher revenue.
Which is not to say we don’t compete with anyone — just that at our core, we think the payments industry needs to interoperate so that the best services win. Banks aren’t going away. Networks aren’t going away. FinTechs aren’t going away. Modo is all about connecting the new to the old/existing/proven.
Read the entire article on PYMNTS here.