In an increasingly globalized world, currency transfer is becoming increasingly digital.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s start by introducing our audience to World First as well as yourself.
Mike Ward: I’m the Chief Revenue Officer for World First for the global business unit. It was started in 2004. Jonathan Quinn and Nick Robinson were our two founders based out of UK. While working with a large financial institution, they saw the opportunity in the international payment space. They wanted to help service consumers and small to medium-sized corporations that faced problems in doing transactions and activities cross-border.
We started with a technology-first focus. We didn’t want to be a brick-and-mortar company. We didn’t want to fully rely on service over the phone. We saw the growth and the future of where technology would, hopefully, be taking place, and it has. We now service clients in over 40 countries around the globe. We have over 500 employees working in seven offices around the world. We are constantly in a growth mode, creating unique and different user experiences, and establishing an opportunity to service them in dealing with foreign exchange and international payment.
Sramana Mitra: Talk to us about the technology. What’s in the technology?
Mike Ward: The technology has two components. A lot of people can build technology, but we have many different functions for servicing money services or financial service businesses. You have the front end from acquisition. Clients engage with you on how they get on-boarded and how we make sure that we are signing them up and doing appropriate due diligence on people regarding their money and regulations.
You have different technology there from a service perspective – trade capture, managing client’s funds, managing client’s accounts, and details of the beneficiaries. You have a lot of activity around recognizing funds in different institutions as it’s linked to a payment. You have the basic CRM tools. That is all proprietary where we have a lot of vendors that connect to that. We’re constantly on top of managing and doing the appropriate due diligence to protect our current clients and our business as a whole.
Sramana Mitra: Let’s talk about a few use cases. What is the target client base?
Mike Ward: We have three client groups that we service today. The consumer client and corporate client. We split the corporate into two – corporate that does its own cross-border activities directly with customers through their own website or sales team, and the e-commerce group of clients. We work with, roughly, over 70 marketplaces around the globe in facilitating those merchants to go on and give them currency accounts for collect funds from the marketplace so as to be able to facilitate transactions back to their home country in local currency. Those are our three client groups that we service today.