A double winner in the inaugural Deloitte Financial Services Innovation Awards two years ago, TransferMate has been building on that success in the meantime. The company is a global B2B subsidiary of Clune Technology Group, which was founded by Terry Clune. Since then, the coronavirus pandemic accelerated an already growing trend towards increasing digitisation of business. That development is expanding the field for the Kilkenny-headquartered company, which believes it’s well placed to grow its market share.
TransferMate CEO Sinead Fitzmaurice estimates that 95 per cent of the global cross-border payments market is still dominated by the traditional interbank route. For businesses making or receiving cross-border payments, the current process can take up to five days. This makes the market ripe for disruption; TransferMate has built its business on streamlining this to reduce this time to a single day.
“If you’re a business making or receiving payments abroad, that adds layers of friction, and references can be lost along the way. What TransferMate has done is build significant infrastructure to take out those pain points in the middle,” says Fitzmaurice.
That pain point can be summed up simply with the phrase ‘time is money’. A perfect example of this principle in action was when, a year ago, health services across the world jostled to procure much-needed personal protective equipment (PPE) from the far east. With the products in such high demand as Covid-19 began spreading across the world, suppliers would only release them to whoever paid fastest. Using TransferMate, the Health Service Executive was able to make same-day payments, guaranteeing a vital supply of PPE for Ireland.
Whereas some high-profile fintechs focus on the consumer payments market or limit themselves to a single jurisdiction, TransferMate exclusively homed in on the b2b market and deliberately built its business to be global. Steadily over the past decade, it has built a regulatory network that now encompasses over 162 countries and handles payments in over 130 currencies.
That work involved considerable investment of time and money, as the regulatory infrastructure has taken years to build. This methodical approach was crucial to TransferMate agreeing deals with the likes of Barclays, ING, Wells Fargo and SAP.
“When you go to partner with banks and software platforms that are Nasdaq listed, they will want to make sure you have all the infrastructure ‘under the bonnet’. We’ve strategically built the business to be infrastructure and regulatory-led first and foremost,” says Fitzmaurice.
“The banking and payments world is rapidly being disrupted. We are helping drive this change.” says Clune “TransferMate is providing world class globally regulated technology to power payments for leading banks, software’s & fintech’s.” he adds.
In the two years since its success in the Financial Services Innovation Awards, TransferMate has been expanding into South America, having received regulatory approval to operate in Mexico, Chile and Brazil, as well as in the Philippines and Malaysia.
The Awards are highly recognised right around the world, so for a world-recognised brand like Deloitte to endorse our technology, it's a great honour
It has also been tying up deals with software companies to ‘white label’ its payments technology, significantly expanding the Irish company’s reach. This will be a big part of its route to market in the future. “This year we’ll be announcing significant large software platforms that we’ll be embedding our technology with,” says Fitzmaurice.
None of this growth would be possible without innovation, and this is the spirit the Awards aim to capture. Fitzmaurice defines innovation in simple terms; “For us, innovation is all about bringing unique solutions to provide multiple benefits.”
For TransferMate’s customers, those benefits include reducing the cost of bank transfer fees, rapidly speeding up payment, and reconciling payments records quickly back into their accounts systems immediately, which reduces the administration overhead. These all help to improve companies’ cash flow considerably. An advantage like that will never be out of fashion, but the economic pressure that Covid-19 has put on many businesses means TransferMate’s proposition has never been more compelling.
TransferMate displays the awards prominently on its website and Fitzmaurice firmly believes that the company’s participation in the Financial Services Innovation Awards has opened doors with potential customers and partners. “The Awards are highly recognised right around the world, so for a world-recognised brand like Deloitte to endorse our technology, it’s a great honour. A lot of the software platforms we work with use Deloitte as well, so our existing partners were very complimentary when we won the award,” she says.
Adds Clune: “In Ireland, from a technology perspective, there are so many extraordinary businesses, and we’re delighted to be among those companies doing well in a competitive environment.”
Now is an exciting time for TransferMate as it continues its investment and expands globally, where it already has nine offices throughout the world. “We intend to grow quite rapidly into the future. We’re building the infrastructure to power the activity,” says Fitzmaurice.
The Awards are still open for submission with a range of categories designed to reflect the wide swathe of activity in Ireland's fintech sector
Awards and certifications have been an important part of TransferMate’s strategy in enhancing its reputation, and the Financial Services Innovation Award prize in 2019 came at an opportune time. As well as landing the overall winner’s prize, TransferMate also won in the best product or service category for its Global Invoice Connect product, an international receivables product for businesses that TransferMate brings to market in collaboration with Wells Fargo.
That means TransferMate is well placed to give advice to other fintechs looking to make an impression with the Awards’ judging panel of financial industry experts. “If you can describe the value proposition clearly, that goes a long way to helping the judges to understand what the solution means to users about the value you deliver: what makes the financial technology unique, in terms of how it’s built and what it means to the customers,” says Fitzmaurice. The Awards are still open for submission with a range of categories designed to reflect the wide swathe of activity in Ireland’s fintech sector.
Not that TransferMate intends to give up its crown lightly. Asked if the company will be entering this year, Fitzmaurice answers quickly. “Yes, definitely we’ll be applying. We’re delighted to be part of the initiative – and hoping we’ll be successful again!”