It is currently a difficult time for the economy, but now more than ever, it is becoming apparent that the future of money is deeply intertwined with technology. These are the views of Uldis Tēraudkalns, CEO at Nexpay, a fintech looking to empower fintechs through these turbulent times.
Uldis Tēraudkalns is the CEO of Nexpay, a Lithuanian fintech startup providing banking infrastructure for the digital assets industry. Tēraudkalns counts with more than a decade of experience working in finance as well as managing venture investment, as a result of which he has served on the boards of different companies. Tēraudkalns holds a Master’s degree in Finance from the Stockholm School of Economics, Sweden and is one of the hosts of The Pursuit of Scrappiness, a business and startup podcast in the Baltics.
Nexpay provides banking infrastructure for digital businesses and individuals. Created by a team of banking and digital assets industry veterans, Nexpay’s mission is to build innovative, reliable, and secure financial solutions for your business ambitions.
Its API allows its clients businesses to provide financial services to their customers, allowing Nexpay to provide Banking as a Service. There is a wide variety of use cases we have seen for its services – digital assets business, crypto exchanges, payments providers, law offices, forex brokers and many more.
We sat down with Tēraudkalns to learn more about his journey in the fintech world:
Tell us more about your company and its purpose
Nexpay is a fintech startup with offices in Vilnius and Riga, and we provide banking services and infrastructure for the digital assets industry, forex providers, and gambling and gaming platforms. Our API enables businesses to offer their customers a seamless integration between Nexpay and their systems, leveraging a range of payment, account, and other products developed by us. With our team of banking and industry experts, we aim to help our customers build new solutions with reliable, convenient, and powerful alternatives to legacy financial institutions. Nexpay is a licensed electronic money institution authorised and regulated by the Bank of Lithuania.
What are some of your recent achievements you’d like to highlight?
It’s a difficult time for the economy, especially digital assets, but we believe that the future of money is deeply intertwined with technology. We are happy to reach a stage where we can say we are playing an important role in empowering fintech companies and others to drive this innovation.
We’ve been in operation for only four years, but Nexpay now processes over €2billion annually, and we have helped over 600 businesses build what we call the future of money. In July 2022, we achieved a €5billion value of serviced payments, operating in more than 30 countries across a range of different industries.
Our team put a lot of effort into improving products and new offers for our customers. Over the past few months, we have introduced several improvements to Nexpay’s usability, and we are also looking forward to offering even more payment products in the near future. Next to EUR IBANs and SEPA payments, the improvements will include new currencies and payment methods.
How did you get into the fintech industry?
I did my bachelor degree at the Stockholm School of Economics in Riga, one of the best business schools in Europe. After my corporate banking experience at SEB, I moved to Sweden to pursue a master’s degree in finance at SSE, this time in Stockholm. Back in Latvia, I joined a private equity firm. In 2015, I began my journey into the world of blockchain and cryptocurrencies. With my education in finance and working experience in the financial services industry, fintech was the natural landing spot.
What’s the best thing about working in the fintech industry?
I think my job is more creative than most people would guess. Our work enables other companies to create innovative and customer-friendly products for this very big part of the human experience which is money. I think there is a lot of regulation and economics and some of this more analytical-style work involved. But we are also concerned in the fintech industry with the changing definition of money, how people relate to money, and how we can put money to work in new ways. This is all very creative.
What frustrates you most about the fintech industry?
That it’s filled with bad actors. We have this one side that is committed and creative, looking at this intersection of money and technology for ways to push things forward. Then there is this other side that is completely nefarious. Every industry will attract its fair share of fraudsters, but I would estimate that industries dealing directly with money will attract perhaps a few more bad apples. This is why I’m always promoting smart regulation.
How have your previous roles influenced your career?
Working in private equity exposed me to different kinds of companies and leadership styles, the learnings of which I can apply now being a head of a substantial organisation myself. I feel fortunate to have been in some of the rooms I’ve been in, witnessing first-hand what business at the top levels looks like. I would also say that co-creating and co-hosting my podcast has put me in direct contact with a lot of the brightest minds in business and this has had and continues to have a tremendous influence on me.
What’s the best mistake you’ve ever made?
We make mistakes all the time, and I don’t know if I have a single ‘biggest’ one that I would point to. I run a startup, so we have well-organised processes of testing and failing and retesting and failing better. You could frame some of these processes as ‘mistakes,’ but I think this is simply a part of our development as a growing company. At the same time, we are working in an industry that requires certain types of mistakes to be absolutely minimised. We are definitely triple-checkers when it comes to many of our business operations, and I think our clients appreciate our diligence.
What has the future got in store for your company?
- Top B2B payments provider for digital businesses in Europe.
- Significantly expanded product scope with different payment methods, currencies and other financial products.
- Expansion outside of Europe.
What are the following key talking points or challenges for your industry as a whole?
Some parts of the sector are under-regulated, and governments and organisations are trying to regulate areas that make no technological or logical sense. The level of adoption of bitcoin and cryptocurrencies is reaching the heights that governments have to invest in understanding the industry. Imposing existing frameworks on new technology is not appropriate.
Indeed, a considerable amount of fraud and scams are associated with misusing crypto platforms. In this story, crypto is just a tool, but it is a very vulnerable asset. And we need to talk about it. We are working tirelessly with our clients and partners on this issue. So far, I don’t see any light at the end of the tunnel. I believe in the opportunity to come up with new solutions.
The third important thing to talk about is people. Nowhere else have I met so many intelligent, energetic, entrepreneurial, and friendly people as the folks we work with and the customers we serve in the digital assets industry. Working with such people is very exciting and intellectually stimulating. We must create more networking opportunities to drive the industry forward.