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10 Best FinTech Companies to Watch 2021

In Conversation with Marius Galdikas, ConnectPay CEO: ‘Operating from the Leading Fintech Hub in Continental Europe Allows Us to Provide Top-Tier Banking Services for Internet Based Companies’

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“At ConnectPay, we are driven by a goal to offer our clients the most efficient, user-friendly, and innovative products in a rapidly changing payments environment”

ConnectPay is one of the fastest-growing Electronic Money Institutions (EMI) in Lithuania—the leading fintech hub in Europe—providing banking services for internet-based companies. By offering smooth onboarding and a boutique banking experience, the company has established a strong clientele from numerous companies. A robust focus on different legal jurisdiction specifics enables ConnectPay to make compliance work for its clients, not against them. The company’s main activity and focus is to provide banking payment services such as SEPA AND SWIFT payments, Multicurrency Accounts, Corporate Cards, and Merchant Accounts for business and institutional clients. ConnectPay is licensed and regulated by the Bank of Lithuania and is subject to the European Central Bank’s regulatory framework.

The company was incorporated in 2017 and is headquartered in Vilnius, Lithuania.

Marius Galdikas, ConnectPay CEO, spoke exclusively to The Silicon Review. Below is an excerpt.

Q. What are the latest technologies leveraged by you to provide exceptional financial services?

One of our key goals is to ensure stable service provision for our customers. That is why we are not diving headfirst into bleeding-edge technologies, which could compromise service reliability. That said, we attentively follow developments in the tech world and aim to embrace all the best solutions it can offer. For example, using infrastructure as a code, which—in case our cloud service provider goes offline—would allow us to reroute all system services to another region in a matter of minutes and avoid any misconfigurations.

Furthermore, each payment undergoes AML/Risk assessment in real-time using Machine Learning algorithms. We also feed all of the performance data and logs to Machine Learning-based log analysis platform to detect anomalies and predict performance issues. This way, we can mitigate problems as they arise, and before any actual harm is done. We do internal and external security audits and penetration testing on a routine basis, too.

Q. The FinTech industry is growing quickly, with an increasing number of companies offering an even greater number of online and mobile platforms. How do you distinguish your services from others?

We have a very clear focus and strong expertise in managing higher risk digital businesses. We have chosen to heavily invest in compliance, encompassing both people, and automation. This allows us to manage risk and help underserved clients instead of neglecting them. Most technical solutions are hand-crafted and built in-house to increase security and lower dependency on third-party services. It’s important to mention that we have decided to keep funds that belong to clients with the Bank of Lithuania and not invest them. This approach is opposite from regular institutional banks, as it allows all clients’ funds to be reclaimed at any time upon request.

Offerings in FinTech can be fragmented. We aim to provide a well-rounded product package, a one-stop-shop for online businesses covering banking accounts, payments, and acquiring.

Q. How do you balance the customer service aspect with the security aspects?

We have multiple channels for providing our services, but the security standards remain the same across the board.

For example, for API channels, where user interaction is minimal to none, we use 2-way TLS encryption and the OAuth2.0 authentication model. It requires quite a complex setup, but it does not add friction to the user experience as it is a machine-to-machine channel.

Recently, we’ve launched a mobile app that allows us to authorize payments. Before that, our multi-factor authentication was based on OTPs sent via SMS. With our mobile app’s introduction, we made the user experience much smoother, as a customer has to perform fewer actions (no need to enter OTP). By nature, SMS messages are not very reliable.

Q. What are the different financial strategies that you implement, and how do you develop one?

Focus is the key. We run a product-driven business, and product strategy is the starting point of every other strategy in the company. I firmly believe that if you focus on building a marketable and scalable product, you can achieve robust business growth and tap into the economies at scale, which will make your products both affordable and profitable.

Q. Internet banks or banking processes create a lack of personal relationships with bank personnel. How do you leverage modern technologies to bridge this gap?

One of our goals is to create a boutique banking experience for our clients, assigning them personal account managers who monitor clients’ needs via an automated eco-system within the company, answer any given questions, and provide custom solutions. This can only be achieved by providing access to proper CRM and readily available data to the employees.

Regulations tend to vary based on location. Tell us about your compliance system.

Lithuania’s compliance requirements are standardized in accordance with the EU legal framework, for which the basis is Anti-Money Laundering Directives. Where our country does stand out is the level of cooperation offered by our regulator—Central Bank of Lithuania and Financial Intelligence Unit. These institutions provide support, guidance, and active education for all market participants, which can be evidenced by their newest achievement—the creation of AML Competence Centre. Lithuania is known as the leading EU fintech hub, offering a wide range of financial products and doing so in a sustainable and compliant way.

At ConnectPay, we are driven by the same values and goals—offer our clients the most efficient, user-friendly, and innovative products in a fast-changing environment while focusing on adhering to the highest compliance standards and providing quality services.

Q. Do you have any new services ready to be launched?

Our roadmap for 2021 is packed with new milestones such as refurbishing our Corporate Cards, introducing Segregated Accounts and B2C Payouts, SEPA Instant, PIS, and highly competitive Merchant Services.

Q. What are your trajectories for the next five years?

We aspire to become the market standard of financial services providers for online businesses. For the next five years, our goal is 3x business growth YoY, which is necessary to get us where we want to be. We aim to achieve it by continuously improving our product portfolio and introducing new licenses in various jurisdictions.

The Leader at the Helm of ConnectPay

Marius Galdikas is a business and technology executive with over 15 years of proven track record in developing digital products and accelerating growth in various enterprises. Experienced in the global finance industry, Marius is proficient at delivering highly scalable and reliable systems and platforms. In addition, he is well versed in organisational development and navigating teams of experts towards common goals.

“One of our goals is to create a boutique banking experience for our clients, assigning them personal account managers who monitor clients’ needs via an automated eco-system within the company, answer any given questions, and provide custom solutions. This can only be achieved by providing access to proper CRM and readily available data to the employees.”