Dec 5, 2018 Pauliina Alanen
Unsurprisingly, the conversation broke off with the huge M&A that at the time came as a surprise to many. iZettle had filed for an IPO, but nine days later, PayPal acquired them. As mentioned by the host Lunden, it was estimated that the IPO would have valued iZettle at about a billion, which was doubled by PayPal. Ready denied that PayPal acquired iZettle because of the IPO, but admits that for obvious reasons PayPal wanted to make it happen pre-IPO rather than post-IPO.
“We had been planning going public for a long time, but you guys ruined it,” De Geer jokes. According to him, the company had been talking to PayPal over the years. Closer to the IPO they started meeting PayPal execs even more, realizing the visions of the two companies were pretty close together.
With this acquisition, PayPal took a stronger hold of the offline market and small businesses, setting up an alternative to the US company Square. As De Geer highlighted, since their launch in 2010, they’ve been focusing on giving opportunity to small businesses and giving them access to the tools like their card reading-device and card-payment platform.
Ready, who originally came to PayPal with the acquisition of Braintree in late 2013, is a veteran in the payments industry. As CEO of Braintree, he was leading one of the most innovative and influential startups in the payments industry, as Braintree completely changed the scene for peer-to-peer payments. Ready highlights that PayPal wants to be an enabler and open up the platform for others innovating in the same space. According to Ready, PayPal sees a huge opportunity for this global economy. “With cloud based computing et cetera the cost of computing has come down a lot, and that has given the global scene a lot of new opportunities,” Ready described.
iZettle succeeded in becoming the go-to payment system for those who previously could only accept cash. According to De Geer, iZettle is actually more like a commerce platform for small businesses, including services like inventory tracking and predicting sales, thus offering plenty of services on top of payments.
For the global market, there’s still a lot to be solved, and PayPal is looking into the future: “If you look around the world there are billions of people who don’t have basic financial services – in other words, you can’t participate in using any service that requires you to have a bank account,” he said. In Africa for instance, phone accounts have been leveraged to use as accounts for money. “There’s a lot of innovation in Europe, but in Asia the whole ecosystem is so much more advanced, and there are new companies emerging everywhere,” De Geer added.
PayPal is looking into crypto and technologies such as blockchain, but both Ready and De Geer agreed that so far the consumer demand has been for other types of payment services. “The bigger problems will be tackled when blockchain can be used for something that only distributed trust can solve. It will take more experimentation for people to find the right problems,” Ready pondered.
When it comes to Amazon’s cashierless store, De Geer believes there will be more hybrid versions, but the need for payments is not going anywhere. However, retail is really feeling the stress of Amazon: “There’s going to be more change in the next five years than there has been in the past fifty. How do you make sure you can give access and capabilities for many, versus only the privileged few getting the access?” Ready asked.
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