In Profile
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In Profile: Patrick Gauthier, CEO of Convera

Fragmented payment regulations across the globe often make the foreign exchange market difficult to navigate. One firm hoping to put a stop to these challenges is FX payments firm, Convera.

In this week’s In Profile, we chat with Patrick Gauthier, CEO of Convera, who breaks down the firm’s recent successes, future plans, as well as his own career choices.

Gauthier is a long-time fintech specialist, having held senior leadership roles at the likes of Amazon, PayPal, and Visa, along with early and mid-stage payments and e-commerce startups.

With a master’s degree in Computer Science from Telecom SudParis in France, he also boasts expertise in developing high-performance teams and building high-growth businesses.

Patrick Gauthier, CEO of Convera
Patrick Gauthier, CEO of Convera
Tell us more about your company and its purpose

Convera is a global commercial fintech that powers international business by moving money with ease. We bring people, technology and commerce together with every payment, helping companies of all sizes navigate the often challenging world of foreign exchange, risk management, and compliance.

Our purpose is to make moving money smart and more secure, so that businesses – from small to large corporations – can confidently engage in global commerce. We provide tech-led payment solutions to help more than 26,000 customers globally grow with confidence.

As experts in foreign exchange, risk and compliance, with an unrivalled regulatory footprint, Convera’s financial network spans over 140 currencies and 200 countries and territories.

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

Since completing our transition from Western Union Business Solutions last summer as a standalone company, we’ve embarked on our digital transformation journey.

To start, we’ve been laser-focused on our investments and our plans to transform the cross-border payments landscape to help our customers grow their businesses with confidence.

We have a ‘customer champion’ mindset, where we not only try to answer our customers’ needs but anticipate them. We put our customers first and their perspectives are taken into consideration in everything we do.

With our know-how in hedging, risk management and compliance management, we are here to shelter our customers from the heavy burden of compliance and regulatory work and allow them to have more confidence in running their business and predicting their cash flows.

As the market shifts, we need to help our customers, who are often left without support by traditional players, to navigate global disruptions. We help our customers through these changes both at an operational and strategic level by assisting them with FX risk mitigation strategies.

We are also leveraging technology to:

  1. automate through the digitisation of the many steps required by regulations from registration to maintaining and auditing records of client calls;
  2. to provide information to our customers through their channel of preference, for instance in Europe we are currently piloting a digital trading room;
  3. by integrating with 3rd party platforms that are part of our customer’s infrastructure. Our customers’ successes are based on how well we serve them – and that’s an ongoing achievement in my book.

Another recent achievement was becoming a cloud-based system through our migration to AWS in record time last year. This leap forward has increased efficiency, enabled faster innovation, decreased processing times which resulted in faster approvals, smoother onboarding, and ultimately, increased productivity for our customers and enhanced their experience.

We believe that seamless and secure global commerce accelerates the exchange of ideas and innovation, creating growth opportunities for any business. For our customers, that’s game-changing.

How did you get into the fintech industry?

I’m a geek at heart who loves to build products, teams and businesses. I was working in the chip industry and was asked if I was interested in payments because those two were starting to intersect. As an engineer and builder at heart, I stumbled into the fintech and payments industry accidentally. Payments is a fascinating domain that requires high-order thinking across strategies for ecosystem development, technology and infrastructure development, marketing and customer engagement, legal and regulatory environment. And the pace of change is accelerating!

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

I’ve been in payments for 25 years and have had the opportunity to work on a number of new technologies and innovations. The fintech industry has been a catalyst for improvement in customer experience and services, and with global commerce going increasingly digital everywhere, it is just starting. I get to build new solutions, work with smart imaginative people solving hard problems. It’s an innovator’s dream!

What frustrates you most about the fintech industry?

I don’t necessarily feel frustrated with the fintech industry. But I often wished this industry focused more on simplifying what is a complex set-up, and really focused on creating customer value, rather than shiny objects.

It’s easy to get caught up in the hype of the latest financial technologies, like cryptocurrencies and blockchain. But at Convera, our focus remains steadfast on the core needs of our customers. We are dedicated to providing solutions that truly simplify cross-border payments, manage foreign exchange exposure, and ensure robust compliance.

In essence, we want to take the burden off our customer’s shoulders so they can focus on what they do best. Whether it’s managing tuition payments for a university or securing donations for an NGO, Convera is here to confidently help businesses navigate the complexities of the global marketplace. We do this by absorbing the risk and navigating the regulatory environment on their behalf, allowing our customers to concentrate on growth and innovation.

How have your previous roles influenced your career?

My previous roles have been instrumental in shaping my career. I first started working at Visa on chip cards and a lot of predecessors to contactless payments. From there, I introduced e-commerce and tap-to-pay wallets at PayPal before joining Amazon to spearhead the launch of Amazon Pay.

At PayPal, I gained a deep understanding of the digital payments landscape and its importance for a seamless online customer experience. Amazon was an incredible experience, to learn from the best how to innovate at scale. This knowledge directly translates to our B2B payments focus at Convera.

Leading teams across North America and Europe broadened my perspective on the global payments ecosystem. Understanding diverse market needs is crucial for Convera’s success in the international arena.

My experience in business strategy and corporate development honed my ability to identify growth opportunities and craft winning strategies. This strategic thinking has been essential for navigating the competitive fintech landscape and charting Convera’s future course.

My diverse background gives me a unique blend of industry knowledge, global perspective, and strategic vision – the perfect recipe to lead Convera into a new era of growth and innovation.

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

In 2008 I left Visa to join a pre-revenue start-up that was building a TV integrated commerce and streaming service. It was really exciting to see how to adapt 20 years of e-commerce innovation to a new laid-back customer experience. Unfortunately, the timing (e.g. great recession) was not good and the company was not successful.

But, it really taught me the importance of agility. The financial crisis was a very Darwinian moment and while we ultimately were not able to scale, it was a fascinating experience combining advances technology, with working with Hollywood studios. 15 years later I still have vivid memory of that experience.

What has the future got in store for your company?

The future for Convera is bright. We’re on a multi-year plan to double the size of the business, and we’re going to achieve that by continuing to put our customers first.

Collaboration is a cornerstone of our growth strategy. We’ll be teaming up with industry leaders to offer more comprehensive solutions tailored to our customer’s specific needs. Together, we’ll craft solutions that address the unique compliance and regulatory needs of each industry that we serve.

At Convera, unwavering expertise and integrity are paramount. Our team boasts decades of experience in the foreign exchange market. We hold ourselves to the highest standards, with all our dealers being licensed. This transparency and dedication are the hallmarks of who we are.

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

The future of fintech is exciting, but not without its challenges. One key obstacle to overcome is the need to balance innovation with robust security. Fintech thrives on pushing boundaries and developing cutting-edge solutions, but this can’t come at the expense of consumer protection. The industry needs to find ways to implement these solutions while ensuring ironclad defences against cyber threats and fraud.

Companies expanding internationally need help to keep up with the ever-changing regulatory environment. We’ve built a team of compliance experts and secured an industry-leading number of licenses (over 70) to help businesses navigate these complexities. We leverage technology and data to analyse transactions in real time and identify potential compliance issues before they become problems. This allows companies to focus on their core business while feeling confident their international payments are handled securely and compliantly.

Finally, even in this digital age, the human touch remains important. Technology is the backbone of fintech, but building trust and personalising the customer experience is essential. We need to find ways to leverage technology’s efficiency while ensuring a human connection that fosters trust and long-term relationships with our clients.

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