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Thought Leaders in Financial Technology: Marwan Forzley, CEO of Veem (Part 1)

Posted on Monday, Sep 21st 2020

Cross Border B2B payments is still a big opportunity in FinTech. Marwan discusses Veem’s work in this area.

Sramana Mitra: Let’s start by having you introduce a bit about yourself as well as the company.

Marwan Forzley: I’m the CEO of Veem. We are in the business payments space. Our mission is to help businesses get paid. We have about a quarter million customers that are on the platform. We operate in over 50 currencies. We started the business in late 2014.

I used to run e-commerce for Western Union. I had my own company. Prior to that, I was in another startup and ended up with Nokia. 

Sramana Mitra: Let’s double-click down a bit. Of the quarter million customers that you have, what problems are you solving? There are so many players. If you could help us understand the ecosystem of business payments and where you sit, that would be perfect.

Marwan Forzley: We serve the customers that traditionally use wire transfers at banks to either pay or get paid. For example in the US when I need to move money to Germany, I would go to the bank and do a wire transfer. That is a frustrating experience to both the sender and receiver. There is a need for an alternative way to do fund transfers.

Typically, the sender has to gather all the information on the receiver and pay money to send the funds. The receiver has to pay $20 to receive the wire and loses 2% to 4% in foreign exchange fees. The transfer should be done before the cutoff time. When you send the money, you never really know what happens to the money until the receiver tells you they received your money.

It is an experience that is full of friction for the payer. It’s equally frustrating to the receiver. The receiver generally doesn’t know when they’re going to get paid. The bank will not tell you that this money is going to be deposited for you at this time.

Then you have to constantly login and refresh to check if the money has been received. When you receive the money, you don’t know which money is for what invoice.

For example, we have a customer in Germany who deposited euros but had a hard time figuring out which deposit belongs to which invoice. They have a hard time figuring out the cost of that payment.

In the world of using Veem, all you need to do is enter the email address of the receiving entity and the amount of money you owe. Going back to the example, if the sender is in the US and the receiver is in Germany, you log into the system, enter the email address and amount of money you owe them.

The receiver then gets a message that they’re getting paid and you see it in euros. When you accept the payment, we verify the receiver and then transfer the funds.

The receiver, in this case, gets to match the payment that’s deposited to the invoice. Everything is visible to them, so when they export that to their accounting system, it auto-reconciles.

Sramana Mitra: What you’re describing sounds to me like PayPal.

Marwan Forzley: PayPal is more of a consumer service and an e-commerce consumer business. This is similar to that but for businesses.

Sramana Mitra: So it’s a B2B payment platform.

Marwan Forzley: Correct. Also within the PayPal ecosystem, it’s more designed for US dollar transactions where money goes from a bank account to another bank account. The Veem system is designed for currency conversion between countries. 

Sramana Mitra: I didn’t realize that PayPal doesn’t do that. We pay a lot of our vendors through PayPal.

Marwan Forzley: PayPal does it except that these systems are more optimized to deal with US dollar payments. In our world, we optimize more for currency conversion.

This segment is part 1 in the series : Thought Leaders in Financial Technology: Marwan Forzley, CEO of Veem
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