August 22, 2021
Today, we’re sitting down with Qolo’s Darren Beyer, Founder & Chief Product and Strategy Officer, to get the inside scoop on the launch of Qolo Accelerator, a unique fast-track solution that allows businesses to get to market quickly while future-proofing their growth and giving them an autonomy option down the line.
Q: What is Qolo Accelerator?
Darren: To put it simply, through Accelerator, we enable clients on their growth journey rather than trapping them in a single go-to-market strategy. The new, innovative business model allows our clients to launch quickly, with Qolo performing many of the operational and compliance components, then to graduate to where they take on those functions and also recognize more of the revenue.
Until now, fintechs have had to make a choice between time to market and payment program profitability. Many sacrifice the long term for the near term and find themselves stuck in a relationship that simply doesn’t work economically. And to move to something viable, it means significant cost and customer disruption. We’ve lived this prior to launching Qolo and knew there was a better way. This sounds like a simple step-change, but is actually pretty revolutionary for payments, especially in the card space.
Q: Why do you think it’s time for change?
Darren: Seamless payments are an increasingly vital component for the success of modern fintechs. Getting to market quickly can give you an edge that solidifies your role in the modern marketplace. But all too often, that speed comes at a cost. .
We’ve all heard the mantra “go early ugly”--get to market quickly, then clean up the technical debt and profitability issues later. The problem with doing that in payments, is to go down that path means getting shackled to restrictive models and punitive contracts which do not allow for longer term financial viability. Moreover, getting out of those relationships will likely mean customers are significantly impacted during the transition by things like having to be re-carded, or changing direct deposit information to get paid.
“Go early ugly” works when you can absorb the pain of transition. When that pain is put upon customers, it means angry calls to customer service and 1-star reviews in the app store--things no new company or product needs.
Q: Why not just start as a program manager?
Darren: Well, it is a bank-driven process that takes time, bandwidth, and specific expertise, things in short supply during this explosion in Fintech we’re experiencing. Even simple programs may take three or four months to go through this process, while more complex consumer programs could take more than six. So, launch early, but be stuck in a contract where you can’t really make money, or wait six months or more to launch. It’s a lose-lose predicament.
With Accelerator, we’ve eliminated this trade-off.
Q: What is different about this new approach?
Darren: With Accelerator comes a layer of flexibility not afforded by pre-packaged solutions, giving businesses the ability to adjust and upgrade their payment processes to suit their needs. Seamlessly.
Now, a fintech company can quickly launch to market with lean internal resources thanks to Qolo - benefitting from our expertise and the world’s first 100% cloud-based issuing and omni-channel payments platform. We then provide a pain-free switch from program partner to program manager, making it possible to fast-track and future proof our clients.
Q: Can businesses find this type of service with other providers, such as Banking-as-a-Service (BaaS) fintechs?
Darren: While the term Fintech is nothing new to veterans in the payments space, it has cemented itself into the mainstream narrative as of late. Fintechs apply infrastructure and emerging technologies to packaged financial services. BaaS providers go a step further by packaging up capabilities of multiple infrastructure providers and creating a more effective engagement layer. While beneficial to fintechs that are looking for faster time to market, this adds a layer of cost and limits flexibility down the road.
Qolo sits at the infrastructure layer, which allows us to provide a hybrid approach--a three-way marriage between near-term needs of time to market, omni-channel, direct access to payments infrastructure, and a transformative business model designed for long-term program viability.
Q: And that brings us back to Qolo Accelerator?
Darren: Absolutely. Decision-makers need to look to the future when securing a payment partner. Once the frenzy of a product launch is over--when your internal expertise has flourished, and you feel ready to make a move toward program profitability--Qolo is the expert by your side, helping take you to full program management where you own the full P&L. And we do this with zero impact to your customer base.
It really is the best of both worlds: time to market meets long-term viability.