Behind the Idea Europe Paytech

Behind the Idea: Universal Partners

Fintechs must strike a balance between onboarding new clients and retaining old ones. Many financial exchanges provide excellent offers and deals for new customers, but leave the existing cliente out to dry. Although an influx of new customers is good, losing old customers means the onboarding efforts are all done in vain. One company ensuring this doesn’t happen is Universal Partners.

We sat down with Dhaval Patel, the co-founder and chairman of Universal Partners, the cross border payment and risk management solution provider, to learn about how the company is placing an emphasis on ensuring existing consumers feel like they are being catered to.  

Dhaval Patel, the co-founder and chairman of Universal Partners
Dhaval Patel, the co-founder and chairman of Universal Partners


Tell us more about your company and its offering

We are an international payments partner for businesses. I founded Universal Partners in 2017 with my co-founder Oliver Carson to change the way international payment providers work with their clients. We deliver bespoke risk management strategies alongside cutting-edge payments infrastructure. We now enable cross-border payments to 220 territories globally, working with each client to effectively manage the inherent risks of international trade.

What problem was your company set up to solve?

Prior to launching Universal Partners, I witnessed and participated in the traditional international payments industry, focusing on client acquisition and treating customer success as an afterthought. It’s a flawed approach. Customers are typically sold a high touch experience. However, they then receive the opposite after onboarding.

At Universal Partners, our mission is to provide another option to SMEs. We study each client’s individual international payment requirements and work with them to tailor a risk management strategy.

We’re also at the forefront of international payments technology, building innovative infrastructure to increase the efficiency of international trade. We recently rolled out mass payments support, and partnered with Muse Finance to deliver cutting-edge invoice and trade finance solutions.

Since launch, how has your company evolved?

There is a real opportunity to provide a truly tailored solution in the international payments sector. The fintech revolution has greatly furthered financial inclusion and revolutionised infrastructure supporting the finance sector, but the focus on individual client needs has been kicked to the curb.

We set out to buck the trend from day one, but our company has evolved beyond recognition during the journey so far. With over £1.3billion transacted in FY 2022, Universal Partners is a growing family of disruptors, routinely expanding the capabilities of our platform and striking partnerships with exciting businesses. We’re continuing to evolve by building a suite of financial solutions under one roof, further simplifying the growth process for UK SMEs.

What has been the biggest challenge or most ‘tricky moment’ to overcome?

The finance industry is notoriously difficult to break into, requiring newcomers to jump over extensive regulatory hurdles to obtain their own licences. Our biggest challenge to date was meeting the FCA’s stringent standards to become an authorised payment institution whilst remaining bootstrapped.

It was a comprehensive process to complete but our customers and partners are confident that we have the right processes in place to best oversee international transactions. Furthermore, we will be able to provide reliable suggestions concerning international trade.

What are your biggest achievements or ‘proudest moment’ so far?

Our biggest achievement is difficult to put a finger on – as any founder will tell you, the goalposts are always moving so each and every victory is sweet. We are partnering with some of the most exciting fintechs in the world. All with the aim of building a new financial tools for our customers. This includes our recent partnership with Muse Finance. We want to work with great minds to add real-world value for our customers.

And then there’s the pride in expanding our team, which started from two and recently reached 76,  enabling us to maintain a high level of customer experience as our client base grows.

How would you describe the culture of your company?

We view the company as a collection of driven individuals determined to deliver a better experience for our Clients. Therefore, our approach to company culture is rather unique, routinely taking bets on industry outsiders and implementing extensive employee training programmes in order to break the status quo.

Our company culture is team based. It focuses on the collective power of its members to arrive at the best solution possible. Clients are assigned an individual portfolio manager, but we work together behind the scenes. As a result, we ensure that every potential avenue is exhausted before making a recommendation.

What’s in store for the future?

We have lots under development behind closed doors. Over the coming years, we will be expanding the services we offer, partnering with fellow fintechs and banks to level up our platform and become the go-to partner for ambitious scaling businesses.  We’re just getting started!


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