Welcome back to the SMB Tech Innovators podcast blog series powered by Gusto, where we explore the intersection of Embedded Fintech, vertical SaaS, and how software combats the rising complexity of running a business. We aim to share stories, advice, and best practices from the leaders and investors behind today’s cutting-edge platforms.
In this episode, we talked with Nathan Gill, Epos Now’s Chief Product Officer, and Jacob Olins, Head of Financial Services and App Marketplace at Epos Now. Epos Now is a global leader providing point-of-sale software solutions to small and medium-sized businesses across various sectors. Their all-in-one platform empowers merchants with tools to manage products, customers, transactions, payments, marketing, loyalty, and valuable insights.
As consumer expectations change, businesses must undergo key transformations to keep up, most often in the form of more complete, personalized product offerings. Nathan and Jacob discuss why software companies are evolving into payment companies and providing single-source solutions for their customers.
Embedded fintech topics covered:
- How payment processing has changed over the last decade.
- Why embedding finance products should be product led.
- Balancing core features vs. add-ons in your product offering.
- What makes a good embedded Fintech partner?
- How to sequence your embedded financial products roadmap and prioritize products.
- A key lesson learned during the pandemic.
(The following was transcribed and edited for clarity)
Evolving Fintech Landscape: Lessons from the Past
You both bring experiences from your tenure at Verifone, a prominent payment processing company. How has the Fintech landscape evolved in recent years, and how has this evolution shaped your approach at Epos Now?
Nathan: My experience at Verifone offered insights into the payment industry’s dynamics. Epos Now, however, deals with a broader spectrum, serving as a business-in-a-box solution for merchants. This demands a deeper understanding of SMB operations and their requirements. Unlike the traditional payment focus, Epos Now seeks to incorporate financial services seamlessly into business workflows through APIs and more.
Jacob: The rise of vertical-focused platforms and embedded Fintech highlights a shift in the SMB space. These platforms, including Epos Now, provide end-to-end solutions. For instance, while payment hardware was once a standalone solution, Epos Now seeks to integrate payments into the core of businesses, whether restaurants, retailers, and other non-financial services. This tailored integration sets it apart from the past.
Fintech as a Core Value Proposition
How does Epos Now balance its core features with embedded financial services? How do these financial services enhance the core offerings and increase profitability?
Nathan: Epos Now strongly emphasizes its core point-of-sale functionality, which has expanded significantly from traditional cash transactions. This core functionality is crucial, but Epos Now also invests in innovations, dedicating about 25% of its investment to embedded financial services. These services are designed not just as add-ons but as components that enrich the core offering, making it more effective and comprehensive, offering a better user experience and creating new revenue streams.
Jacob: The key is aligning incentives to affirm benefits for Epos Now and its partners. The embedded financial services should enhance the customer’s experience within the platform and naturally, increase customer acquisition. This collaboration ensures the partner’s expertise in financial services aligns with the platform’s needs, creating a seamless and valuable integration.
Navigating the Complexities of Risk and Fraud
Managing risk and fraud within embedded Fintech can be complex. Can you shed light on your approach to managing these challenges?
Jacob: Managing risk and fraud in financial services is a multidimensional challenge. It’s not just about technology but also about building a comprehensive operational organization. At Epos Now, this involves implementing robust risk management practices, fraud prevention processes and establishing clear ownership of these aspects within the company. The focus on protection and security is paramount in this domain.
Partner Dynamics and Sequencing
What makes a good embedded Fintech partner, and how do you balance partnerships and internal product development?
Jacob: A strong partner collaborates closely with us, imparting expertise about operational processes, compliance, risk management, and other critical aspects. A clear alignment of incentives and responsibilities is essential for a successful partnership. Epos Now’s app marketplace also extends the platform’s capabilities by distributing various add-on services, some developed in-house, some third-party, and others in partnership with embedded Fintech providers. The key is providing a comprehensive and beneficial ecosystem to customers.
Sequencing Embedded Fintech Roadmaps
Embedded Fintech roadmap sequencing can be intricate. How do you prioritize which products should go first, and what considerations guide your decisions?
Nathan: Customer needs and interests are the primary factors driving our product roadmap sequencing and we want to make sure there are a lot of use case possibilities for each product. For instance, we began with payments since it’s a universal requirement for all our customers. As a result of customer research and market insights, we launched capital products, and we’re set to introduce banking services and more. Understanding customer interest and aligning it with operational and technological timelines helps forecast the best results for our roadmap effectively.
Jacob: We also consider the diversity of our customer base. Offering solutions catering to various industries ensures our embedded Fintech products address each customer’s unique needs, enhancing the overall value proposition.
Building for Customer Success
In the dynamic world of embedded Fintech, Epos Now is a testament to the power of collaboration and customer-centric innovation. By seamlessly integrating financial services into its platform, Epos Now enriches its core offerings and empowers small and medium-sized businesses across the globe.
As this episode clearly shows, embedded Fintech is not just about the technology. It’s a cross-functional endeavor that demands a thorough understanding of customer needs, operational excellence, and risk management. Epos Now charts a course toward revolutionizing the SMB landscape by balancing core functionality and value-added financial services.