In Profile
In Profile Paytech

In Profile: Anish Kapoor, CEO of AccessPay

Earlier this year, AccessPaythe bank integration provider, closed a strategic funding round at $24million to boost its expansion plans across the US and supercharge its R&D efforts in fraud and error prevention.

In this week’s In Profile, we chat to Anish Kapoor, CEO of AccessPay, to learn more about these plans as well as his career journey, which spans technology, finance and consultancy.

 Anish Kapoor, CEO of AccessPay
Anish Kapoor, CEO of AccessPay
Tell us more about your company and its purpose

Over the past few decades, private banking has seen a huge shift towards digitalisation and customer centricity. But the same is not true for corporate and institutional banking. As a former CFO, I knew how cumbersome it could be, with finance managers & treasurers relying on large teams to manage manual, repetitive tasks like sending payments instructions or retrieving bank statements.

We built AccessPay to bring more transparency, security and ease of use into banking, through automation. Our bank integration solution connects back-office systems directly to banks. This has really unlocked the promise of financial digital transformation for our customers: AccessPay acts as the secure and efficient data transformation layer, and allows our customers to scale their financial operations.

What are some of your recent achievements you’d like to highlight?

A few recent highlights are our expansion from the UK into the US via our partnership with Sage. We have also made great strides to develop our product offerings with the addition of our Fraud & Error Prevention Suite, a range of capabilities to help customers derisk their payments operations, specifically against financial fraud.

And in March this year we closed a strategic funding round at $24million, led by our veteran investor True Ventures. As for what’s next, we’re focused on driving profitable growth and delivering more enhancements to our product, particularly regarding fraud and error prevention, and bank APIs.

How did you get into the fintech industry?

By accident, if I’m being honest. Having secured a degree in computer science and accounting from Manchester University in 1993, I went down the tried and tested accounting path, specialising in auditing IT systems. Looking back, I don’t think I realised how closely aligned the worlds of computing and finance would become. However, I had enough of an inkling that, once I’d qualified as an accountant, I started a tech company with a couple of friends. Using this magical new technology called the internet, we developed the first Point of Sales business in the UK. Unfortunately, at this time, the internet was not yet sophisticated enough to handle our proposition.

In 1997, and at just 22 years old, three friends and I took matters into our own hands and built a resilient enough infrastructure through a new company called Telecity. Three years later and I was one of the youngest serving FTSE 250 directors, leading Telecity to a successful IPO, global expansion, and the title of Europe’s largest listed data centre operator. Following Telecity, I rekindled my entrepreneurial pursuits, focusing on VC-backed tech ventures and leading various SaaS businesses before joining AccessPay as an advisor. I assumed the role of CEO in 2014.

What’s the best thing about working in the fintech industry?

I think the best thing is the profound impact we can have on modernising financial systems around the world. The sector’s ability to blend finance with cutting-edge technologies does more than simply enhancing operational efficiencies; it democratises access to financial services better than anything or anyone ever has. Every day, we are part of creating solutions that simplify complex processes, reduce costs, and increase transparency, which helps businesses of all sizes to thrive.

The pace of innovation in fintech and the constant drive for improvement is also incredibly exciting. Being at the forefront of the financial world’s technological transformation, we are in the privileged position to address real-world problems with tangible, innovative solutions that improve how businesses interact with their finances. To lead a company like AccessPay in this landscape, where our work directly contributes to the evolution of global financial ecosystems and enhances our clients’ strategic capabilities, is most rewarding.

What frustrates you most about the fintech industry?

Navigating the regulatory landscape is definitely one of the more challenging aspects of the industry. It can be frustrating how often the pace of regulatory change fails to keep up with technological innovation.
The gap this discrepancy creates means new technologies or business models must wait for clear guidelines. There are delays that can stifle innovation and affect our ability to quickly deliver solutions that are able to improve financial operations for our customers. When you factor in the fragmented nature of regulations across different regions, it also makes global expansion more complex and cumbersome.

How have your previous roles influenced your career?

Undoubtedly so. The experience of attempting to grow a Point of Sales company on the back of rudimentary technology taught me that if a technology is inefficient or doesn’t even exist, that it might be down to yourself to solve the problem. That’s exactly what we did with Telecity, and the company’s subsequent successes speak for itself.

In helping other fledgling businesses get off the ground, I also became extremely aware of the critical importance of having a business that’s staffed with exceptional talent. Moreover, talent that shares a commitment to providing customers with solutions that make a measurable impact on their ability to grow their businesses.

What’s the best mistake you’ve ever made?

That’s a hard one to answer, but I’d probably say that focusing too narrowly on specific technology solutions rather than on broader client needs in the early part of my career was a good mistake.

This early tunnel vision inadvertently taught me that flexibility and adaptation in the fintech sector was, and continues to be, as important as developing specific solutions. It was a realisation that pushed me to broaden AccessPay’s approach to problem-solving and focus more on versatility across our services.

You could say it helped shape our strategy to be more customer-centric and prioritise meaningful, tailored solutions that truly address our clients’ diverse challenges.

What has the future got in store for your company?

With this latest round of capital, the future has plenty in store. As I mentioned earlier, the funding will be instrumental in driving our focus on profitable growth and bolstering our commitment to increasing revenues in a sustainable manner.

The portion we’ve set aside for research and development will also allow us to grow the platform’s capabilities in fraud and error prevention, bank statement data and reconciliation automation, and ISO 20022 data transformation. As these various commitments and initiatives come together, we’ll hopefully see a much more visible AccessPay presence across the US and Europe.

What are the next key talking points or challenges for your industry as a whole?

APP fraud remains high on the agenda. For PSPs, a key challenge will be implementing the new reimbursement requirements from the Payments Systems Regulator. The requirements will compel PSPs to reimburse individuals, charities, and microenterprises within five working days of a fraudulent transaction that was made using Faster Payments.

The clock can be stopped, but only if there is a legitimate need to gather further information. As most businesses won’t be protected by the new rules, they’ll have to implement guardrails, such as Confirmation of Payee and more robust payment authorisation controls.

The lack of action among corporates to prepare for the ISO 20022 messaging format adoption is another lingering challenge. However, payment systems around the world are updating their infrastructures to move across to the new format, including the Bank of England’s CHAPS, which updated its Real-Time Gross Settlement System in 2023.

From November 2024, the Bank of England will mandate the addition of Purpose of Payment for all property transactions and it’s expected this will also extend to all CHAPS payments. It’s a development likely to spark plenty of conversation in the weeks and months ahead of implementation.

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