There have been huge advances within the fintech and payments industry during the past year, with more change and innovation to come. We already know that the pandemic has forced dramatic movement in consumer behaviour from the way that we pay to the financial services we’re adopting at speed. Other defining moments and drivers of change during the last 18 months include the Wirecard issue; from one perspective this issue has highlighted how the industry is still very much in its infancy, particularly from a regulation and clarity of data perspective. In light of this, the coming year will likely see increased regulatory scrutiny, with the need for evidenced transactions, right across the board.
Kani Payments has been helping to solve key problems for fintechs and back-office finance teams since it was founded in 2018. Kani HQ is based out of the growing fintech hub, Newcastle Upon Tyne, and brings efficiency and accuracy of transactional data to fintechs, challenger banks and payments companies, globally. Kani automates the back-office complex finance processes, such as reconciliation and reporting – saving time, money and many compliance reporting headaches.
The Fintech Times speaks to Melissa Beckett, Chief Marketing and Commercial Officer at Kani Payments. Prior to joining Kani last year, Melissa ran NatWest’s North East Entrepreneur Accelerator programme, working with hundreds of disruptive start-ups and scale-ups, and prior to that Sage software.
What has been the traditional company response to financial technology innovations nationally?
Since inception Kani has been at the forefront of innovation and problem solving within the payments space. The idea, born on the back of Founder and CEO Aaron Holmes’ 20 years’ experience of working within the payments space and as Chief Innovation Officer at GPS, Aaron saw first-hand the complexity of manual reconciliations and reporting that was experienced throughout the payments ecosystem.
The task of needing to reconcile and report correctly and have all data in the right place at the right time isn’t a new problem. Finance teams have managed for years using Excel but with the increased complexity of files, huge volumes of data, numerous currencies and regulation/compliance requirements, Kani’s solution to automate and provide this process all in one place, is providing a highly innovative solution to an old problem.
How has this changed over the past few years?
We have found that disruptive and young fintech’s don’t have the finance team, resources or the in-depth payments knowledge, to sit and manually process reconciliations, build complex reports or stay on top of the regulatory reports required, so having a tool like Kani to take care of the whole process is invaluable.
Since it was founded in 2018, Kani has seen impressive growth, we’ve built a great team who are experts in payments, and we’ve expanded into other geographies faster than we’d originally planned – part of this has been down to the relationships and partnerships we’ve built with other fintech’s within the industry – a collaborative approach has been key and will be a big part of our growth plans.
Is there anything that has created a culture of change inside the company?
Kani was initially a very small team, driven and focused on the problems that needed to be solved for customers and the wider industry. Creating something of value and the want to solve complex problems is rooted in Kani’s DNA and has been part of the culture from day one. Now that we’re just over two years in, with Kani users in 5 continents and a growing team, we continue to be obsessed with solving problems for our customers, but with an increased focus on their overall experience of using Kani – from onboarding through to the day-to-day interactions with us and our brand.
We already have a great culture – this is due to the people, the start-up, agile and growth mindset approach that Kani believes in, and is founded upon. Culture can’t be just created and given to people; it needs to be embedded throughout everything you do. As our team increases and Kani continues to grow, we’re continually thinking about how we want to work and what’s important to us as a collective – but the essence of what we stand for remains the same.
What fintech ideas have been implemented?
At Kani we’re driven by our customers and solving their problems, ultimately with the goal of reducing complexity for them. We look at what our customers’ needs are and what their biggest pain points are, and we focus on solving those problems.
To date, Kani has been focused on automating the manual back-office tasks that fintech’s and finance teams spend weeks doing, which are quite often prone to error due to the volume and complexity of data. The technology we have developed allows them to automate these processes, reconciling large volumes of contrasting data sets in minutes, saving time, effort and inaccuracies. We also automate and provide key regulatory reports, such as to the FCA and the Mastercard QMR and Visa GOC quarterly reports.
We’re now seeing more and more demand for our technology to be applied to other problem cases throughout the payments industry – so watch this space!
What benefits have these brought?
Kani’s customer-centric approach has allowed us to stay close to our customers, build relationships with them, learn from them and really understand what they need. For as long as we are driven by what our customers and the market need, we will continue to innovate and provide fintech products and services of real value.
Do you see any other industry challenges on the horizon?
The complexity, scale and need for accurate data upon request, that fintechs will have to manage and adhere to will increase in the coming year. The regulatory scrutiny is likely to bring additional challenges for fintechs and potentially stiffer innovation within the industry.
Can these challenges be aided by fintech?
Of course. Where there are challenges there will be new opportunities. At Kani, we have the ability to consume, analyse and automate very large, complex data sets to support fintechs and other payments companies.