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September Monthly Special 2022

‘We’ve provided our growing partner base with simple yet elegant integrations and end-to-end solutions through our proprietary platforms’: Jeff Hack, CEO of Paya

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“Since its inception, Paya has grown to become a top payment processing provider in the US, currently ranking #7 in e-commerce volume.”

Customer experience has seen a significant transformation in recent years. The rise of eCommerce and adaptive technologies has created new customer touchpoints, enabling customers to interact with businesses through a complex network of channels and platforms. While this shift equals greater convenience for the customer, on the whole it makes providing a seamless customer experience increasingly challenging. To combat the risk of disjointed or confusing buying journeys, savvy businesses are making integrated payments and frictionless commerce a key focus. Integrated payments and frictionless commerce helps drive customer loyalty by enabling ‘wow’ experiences and exceeding – not just meeting – customers’ expectations.

Paya is one such company that primarily provides integrated payment and frictionless commerce solutions that help customers accept and make payments, expedite receipt of money, and increase operating efficiencies. The company processes over $40 billion of annual payment volume across credit/debit card, ACH, and check, making it a top provider of payment processing in the US. Paya serves more than 100,000 customers through over 2,000 key distribution partners focused on targeted, high-growth verticals such as healthcare, education, non-profit, government, utilities, insurance, manufacturing, and other B2B end markets. The business has built its foundation on offering robust integrations into front-end CRM and back-end accounting systems to enhance customer experience and workflow.

Paya is headquartered in Atlanta, GA, with offices in Reston, VA, Fort Walton Beach, FL, Mt. Vernon, OH, and Dallas, TX.

Jeff Hack, CEO of Paya, spoke exclusively to The Silicon Review on how his company leverages its innovative platform that provides simple, flexible payment solutions that can meet business needs.

Interview Highlights

Q. What was the motivation behind the creation of Paya? What gap or gaps in the market were you trying to fill?

Paya has grown to become a leading independent integrated payments and commerce platform, providing card, ACH, and check payment processing solutions primarily via middle-market software partners as well as ERP solutions. Our vision was to offer solutions that integrate with our clients’ core business software, enabling payment acceptance, reconciling invoice detail, and posting payment information to their accounting systems. We wanted to provide a platform for clients to seamlessly collect revenue with a high level of security across payment types.

Paya targets high-growth markets that have relatively low levels of integrated payment adoption, including B2B, healthcare, insurance, government, non-profit, and education. We are able to create value in these previously underserved markets by partnering with leading software providers with comprehensive offerings, including both front- and back-end finance, customer relationship management, and accounting solutions. By partnering and integrating with existing vendors in these spaces, we provide both omnichannel payment processing and additional integrated services, including bill presentment, workflow automation, and simplified post-payment account reconciliation. Integrating all of these comprehensive services into one streamlined platform creates efficiencies for our partners and their clients and reduces errors and redundancies, allowing clients to focus on growing their businesses while Paya handles the rest.

Q. Could you tell us about the company’s journey so far?

Since its inception, Paya has grown to become a top payment processing provider in the US, currently ranking #7 in e-commerce volume. Partnerships have been a critical component of Paya’s growth strategy, enabling us to collaborate with software providers and organizations across our key verticals. In 2020, after achieving years of strategic growth, we transitioned to a publicly-traded company, listed on Nasdaq under the ticker symbol “PAYA.”

In 2021, we experienced particularly robust growth, driving over $40 billion of annual transaction volume as of December 31. Our success reflects our comprehensive product offerings, top-notch talent, and commitment to helping our clients navigate the challenges and opportunities brought on by the pandemic. As a direct result of our investments in these areas, our solutions are now utilized by a wide range of software partners representing over 100,000 businesses. Our journey thus far has been exciting, to say the least, and we’ve only just begun!

Q. What makes Paya relevant in today’s times? Could you give us some context?

Integrated payments are now a must-have for businesses. The advent of the digital era has fundamentally changed the way businesses approach payment decisions. While businesses traditionally relied on banks to handle their payments needs, we’re now seeing that the choice of a payments partner is being driven by the software products that businesses are adopting to do things like ordering supplies, tracking inventory, and onboarding and scheduling staff. In an era of increasing globalization, digitization, and cybersecurity risk, it’s not only helpful but essential for businesses to partner with a commerce provider that allows them to integrate all of these processes into one convenient platform with a high level of security.

Q. What makes Paya unique in the payments and commerce solutions space?

First, Paya focuses on delivering vertical-specific payment solutions through middle-market software vendors, which makes it unique. Historically, the middle market has relied on banks and networks of local resellers with installation and service capabilities to facilitate payments. However, with ubiquitous Internet access and deep penetration of ERP, accounting, and business management software solutions, a new generation of high-tech, integrated payment processors has emerged to fill the gap.

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Today, integrated payment providers marry their payment acceptance/disbursement capabilities and solutions with third-party software solutions to deliver differentiated solutions to clients with value-added services such as general ledger post-back capabilities, digital onboarding, and more. Traditional bank processors have had limited success in this area, given gaps in technological capabilities and a lack of vertical-specific knowledge. Paya’s model has addressed the need to incorporate card, check, and ACH payments into a single omnichannel experience. We’ve provided our growing partner base with simple yet elegant integrations and end-to-end solutions through our proprietary platforms. And while these are foundational, the key to maximizing value is user adoption. To that end, Paya has a finely-tuned sales, marketing, and support model—a key differentiator in driving adoption for our partners.

Speaking of vertical-specific knowledge, Paya’s domain expertise is also a key differentiator, enabling Paya, our partners, and our clients to deliver strong business outcomes and exceptional commerce experiences. The expertise of our incredible team spans payments, ERP, and accounting in each of the key vertical markets that we serve. Indeed, it is this domain expertise that enables us to design and deploy solutions that consistently outperform those of other payment technology providers.

Tell us about the company’s workplace culture.

Paya strives to attract, engage, and retain a diverse and inclusive workforce through a number of targeted initiatives, including generous employee benefits, flexible PTO, tuition reimbursement, ongoing professional education reimbursement, performance, and tenure-based employee recognition events and interactive town halls, a referral bonus program for new hires, and an internship program. As part of its commitment to diversity, Paya also proactively offers professional development and workforce training opportunities, including through a partnership with the Technology Association of Georgia. These efforts are reinforced by a diverse leadership team, over half of whom are women and people of color. Paya has also created a culture of community service by encouraging employees to get involved in their local communities through initiatives including offering PTO for employees to use as a “Day of Service.” Participation in the program has been strong, with employees choosing to spend their days of service packing meals and care packages for shelters and supportive housing developments, donating COVID convalescent plasma to help improve outcomes for COVID patients, cooking meals for neighbors in need, and donating and volunteering with Toys for Tots. The program has helped to foster a shared commitment to service among Paya employees and led to lasting volunteer relationships for many employees and their organizations of choice.

Additionally, Paya continues to build partnerships with local professional societies and networks that are making a difference in the Atlanta community and the tech industry. Through its partnership with Atlanta Tech Village, Paya provides mentorship to up-and-coming startups in the Atlanta area. Paya also works with Wnet (Women’s Network in Electronic Transactions) and Women in Technology to support the career growth and development of women throughout the tech industry and in STEAM fields. In addition to sponsoring these programs, many Paya employees actively engage in mentorship programs with these organizations and others in their local communities.

Q. Being a top provider of payment processing in the US, how crucial are partnerships to your company?

The strength of our partnerships and the trust our partners place in us are critical to our business model. In order for businesses to provide seamless experiences for their customers, payment acceptance is often a component of a larger business process. Thus, our technology must tightly integrate with other software solutions such as ERPs, CRMs, and accounting systems. Further, these types of systems are often recommended by or provided through VARs and system integrators, so strong partnerships in these areas are equally important. With Paya’s best-in-class technology and partner-centric approach, we are proud to offer over 300 software integrations and are trusted by over 2,000 distribution partners.

Q. What does the future hold for Paya?

We couldn’t be more excited about our future! We expect that the adoption of electronic payments will continue to increase, as well as the adoption of core business management software that embeds digital payment functionality. Paya’s focus on innovation, our broad portfolio of best-of-breed solutions, and our partner-centric approach position us exceptionally well to serve these market needs.

Leading through Passion and Experience

Jeff Hack is the Chief Executive Officer of Paya. He is a seasoned veteran in the financial services space, having spent his career building successful technology-centric financial services businesses. He brought his passion for leveraging innovative technology to deliver a world-class partner and client experience to Paya when he joined as CEO. Under his leadership, Paya quickly accelerated its technology and product roadmaps, enhanced its client implementation scale, integrated its acquisitions, and expanded its sales and go-to-market strategy with a focus on serving software providers with flexible and custom integrated payment solutions.

“With Paya’s best-in-class technology and partner-centric approach, we are proud to offer over 300 software integrations and are trusted by over 2,000 distribution partners.”

“Our success reflects our comprehensive product offerings, top-notch talent, and commitment to helping our clients navigate the challenges and opportunities brought on by the pandemic.”