According to Alexander Peh, PayPal Canada’s head of mobile and market development, bigger is better.It’s the philosophy behind a lot of initiatives at Paypal’s Startup Zone at Dx3 this year. The company has upped its startup presence to 35 companies from 25 last year, promising them two days of exposure to over 4,500 people at one of Canada’s largest retail and digital marketing events of the year March 8th and 9th.
“One of the toughest things for a startup and small business is: how do I get my product, brand, and service in front of people?” said Peh.
The two best pieces of feedback we got from 20 or so startups were, ‘we have thousands of potential new customers, partners, media come through and look at us and evaluate what we do’,” Peh said. “They got to spend two days closely with 20 peers and fellow entrepreneurs and they all made contacts. So we decided to make it bigger.”
“Being able to have an incredible household name like PayPal as a brand, and let these startups have conversations with clients and customers and partners, we’re excited about how we can leverage that,” said Peh. “We’re privileged to have this brand equity, and we’re trying to support and foster the Canadian startup community.”
You’ve all heard the name by now: PayPal. One of the world’s leading platforms for digital commerce is still going strong today, 17 years after being founded (then known as Confinity) in 1998. Better yet, they’re still trying to innovate the way we pay, and adapt our access to our own money in a world that is heavily reliant on technology. Alexander Peh, PayPal Canada’s Head of Mobile and Market Development, spoke to a small group of Vancouver’s biggest, and best names. The “in crowd” gathered as Peh shared some impressive details about PayPal’s recent activity, and their partnerships with amazing companies, as they strive to improve the lives of everyone they serve.
One of the world’s largest payments processors is making a play for B.C.PayPal Holdings Inc. (NASDAQ:PYPL) is acquiring Vancouver-based TIO Networks in a deal worth $304 million. It partnered with the BC Tech Association in October 2015 to create a formalized financial technology cluster in Vancouver to help fintech startups innovate and generate revenue. Alexander Peh, PayPal Canada’s head of mobile, told BIV in October 2016 his company's strategy is geared towards collaborating with as opposed to competing against smaller financial technology companies.
PayPal’s solutions always seem to meet customers at the exact places they want to transact. That’s not just a coincidence—for more than 18 years, PayPal has been setting the pace for mobile payments thanks to precise product development and a genuine understanding of consumer needs. We talked to Alexander Peh, PayPal CA’s resident mobile whiz to get a better sense of what the “hot” fintech trends are and how other innovators can get there. Hear more of his thoughts on cross-border payments at Mobey Day Toronto, from December 7–8.
New Canadian FinTech company, Symend Inc, is pleased to announce the closing of their first round of investment after raising $1 Million in capital. The funding was raised largely by the founding partners alongside angel investors. It is the biggest raise of its kind for FinTech in Western Canada from angels in 2016.
“Delinquent debt and its flow down has the potential to impact anyone. I chose to be a part of Symend not only because of their innovative solution focusing on improving efficiency and effectiveness for creditors and vendors, but also for their objective to educate debtors and give them tools to manage debt and solutions to deal with it. I believe that Symend will have a genuine positive social impact in an industry many label as ineffective and costly,” commented Alexander Peh, Head of Market Development & Mobile at PayPal Canada.
Startups are often perceived as being on the cutting edge of technology – creating new ways to fix old problems. But what happens when a business matures and new competitors build better, faster products to meet shifting consumer demands?
Last month, “Canadian tech darling” Freshbooks unveiled a complete platform overhaul to address new feature requests and increased competition. It’s just one example of how fast-growing businesses need to continually innovate to remain competitive.
I recently asked Alexander Peh, Head of Mobile and Market Development at PayPal Canada, and Ben Zifkin, founder and CEO at Hubba to share their tips on building a startup culture that fosters continuous innovation.
The Mars Discovery District, a fixture in downtown Toronto for about a decade and which was formed to bring entrepreneurs and capital together, is set to add a new element to its business.
The entity, which has faced a series of obstacles of late, is adding a financial technology group to complement its existing focus on information and communications technology, clean technology and health. That goal is to develop strategic partnerships to power financial technology, innovation and entrepreneurship.
Alexander Peh, head of market development and mobile at PayPal Canada, said the FinTech launch “is a perfect time for us to stand up and say ‘we want to invest and work with Canadian start ups in a more formal way.’”
PayPal is no stranger to Canada, being one of the leading digital payment options available. But its market is worldwide, with a user base of 165 million customers around the world.
Alexander Peh, PayPal Canada’s head of mobile, started his Canadian dream four years ago with a goal of influencing people with new innovations. His task was complex and challenging: elevate the PayPal brand in Canada and help increase the adoption of mobile payments.
PayPal is commonly used on desktop, mainly through the one-click payment button on various sites such as eBay. But PayPal has a large mobile presence, with mobile apps on iOS, Android and Windows Phone devices.
Skipping lines, getting food and parking faster, and having an easier commute seems like a dream to any Torontonian who has been trapped on a pedestrian-congested sidewalk with 15 precious work break minutes. This is what PayPal is promising.
Their partnership with parking, commuting, and restaurant apps, most of which are Toronto startups, aims to make navigating the city safer, faster, and easier. The question is whether this can be done. A few choice apps are leading the way in cutting down waiting times and providing more accessible, faster navigation. Alexander Peh, PayPal Canada’s head of mobile, describes it as “building experiences,” by maximizing time and accessibility.
All of these apps have the option to pay with PayPal, which means you don’t need your wallet for any of these. “There’s a wallet free future in sight,” says Peh.
Financial technology, or FinTech, is one of the hottest tech trends of 2016, with start-ups entering the burgeoning category to help modernize bits and pieces of the financial system for today’s connected consumers.
Solving a friction: FinTech start-ups and established firms have sprouted up, aiming to add value-added services and access to capital for those who need it, like providing loans to small businesses that have cash flow challenges and may not have access to traditional bank financing, for example. Mobile peer-to-peer payments and sending money internationally to family or business vendors around the world have been growing in popularity.
“It’s about not always focusing on disrupting or challenging traditional business financial systems, but rather focusing on solving a friction in a current process,” says Alexander Peh, Head of Mobile and Market Development at PayPal Canada. “If you can find an area where people are frustrated with a gap in the financial system that isn’t servicing them, then FinTech companies can come in and fill those.”
New research from PayPal and Ipsos shows that mobile commerce is growing at more than double the rate of overall e-commerce in Canada. This growth presents opportunities for Canadian retailers, as mobile commerce spend had already reached $3.45 billion in 2013 – a number which is predicted to grow by 142 per cent next year.
From 2013-2016, the compound annual growth rate for mobile commerce in Canada is projected at 34 per cent versus only 14 per cent for overall e-commerce, including mobile commerce.
“We are at the dawn of a mobile-first era,” said Alexander Peh, head of mobile and market development at PayPal Canada. “At PayPal, we’ve seen our mobile growth rise from less than one per cent of our payment volume in 2010 to more than 20 per cent in 2014.”
“Canadians want to pay with their mobile phones, and ReUp offers small businesses a simple way to build a sleek mobile app with payment capabilities that directly caters to this growing demand,” said Alexander Peh, head of mobile and market development at PayPal Canada. “At PayPal, we’re always looking to collaborate with cool startups like ReUp that offer Canadians an innovative way to pay with their mobile phones and better positions Canadian small businesses to compete.”
ReUp started working with Paypal last year after finding that a lot of merchants had no way to accept PayPal in store. “We found that a lot of merchants want to offer PayPal as an option because customers have it, but retailers didn’t have any way in-store to accept PayPal. PayPal technology in Canada isn’t as available as a brick-and-mortar solution, minus you sitting at a computer to receive money in exchange for goods,” said Shahjahan. “For most fast-moving restaurants or businesses, they don’t have a lot of time for that workflow.”
Teamwork triumphs in Toronto. The theme of collaboration between start-ups and the big players dominated day one of Mobey Day. While some in the fintech industry say they’re disruptive, it seems that’s no longer true as they all look to work together.
Blockchain doesn’t Peh
On a panel examining cross border payments, Alexander Peh, from PayPal Canada, was sceptical about blockchain.
He says: “Everything is hypothetical and I’m trying to get my head around it. I’m not seeing anything to scale yet and what organisations will do with blockchain.”
In fact, I met Peh on Tuesday (6 December), as part of a fintech tour of Toronto, given to the international media by Canada’s Ministry of Economic Development and Growth (MEDG).