RFi Group Interview with CEO & Co-Founder of SmoothPay
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Brian Deck is CEO and co-founder of SmoothPay, which is a mobile commerce, loyalty and customer engagement platform. Brian is a serial entrepreneur, having established three profitable start-ups since 1995. He stays at the leading edge of technology and has been a pioneer in loyalty, card programs and mobile payment. Brian developed and sold a proprietary loyalty and sales platform associated with over $1B in sales for clients including: HP, Rogers, Toshiba, Nissan and Microsoft. Brian has completed the Entrepreneurship Development Program at the MIT Sloan School of Management.
What do you enjoy most about your role at SmoothPay?
Leading a team of creative and talented people as we work toward the common goal of building SmoothPay into a game-changing innovator in mobile payments, loyalty and customer engagement.
What are the key challenges for SmoothPay over the next 12 months?
The next year will be a period of rapid growth for SmoothPay. While the opportunity that it represents is very exciting it will be important that, as we grow our team, we retain the culture of innovation and collaboration that we had as a smaller early stage FinTech startup.
What are the big opportunities for SmoothPay over the next 12 months?
We will be working with a number of well-known retail brands to develop custom-branded apps to serve the needs of their customers and significantly expand the SmoothPay network. We are also working with some very large industry leaders on collaborations that you can expect to see rolling out over the next 12 months.
How big an opportunity is digital disruption for SmoothPay and the Canadian financial services market as a whole?
It’s a huge opportunity and really one of our key rationales for starting SmoothPay. Given how ubiquitous smartphone ownership is now in Canada, people are turning to their devices to do more and more in their everyday lives. As a consequence, we expect to see the adoption of mobile payments grow exponentially.
What innovation are you seeing locally and globally that you think is really effective?
Uber is a great example of a company using mobile technology to address a need in the marketplace. In our specific field, the Starbucks mobile app has been a huge success, with over 20% of their U.S. transactions now processed through the app. With our custom-branded app offering, SmoothPay is delivering for merchants this kind of functionality for a fraction of the cost of building one from scratch.
What will be a key element to winning in this market over the next 5 years?
Being responsive to the evolving needs of consumers and merchants as mobile payment adoption grows. SmoothPay’s recently updated consumer app and merchant portal incorporates much of the feedback we have benefited from as a pioneer in the space, and it will be critical for us to continue to listen, adapt and innovate.
What aspect of your brand are you most proud of?
We have taken a very partner-centric approach to serving our customers and growing our business. As a consequence, I’m very proud of the relationships we have developed with some of the most well respected brands in payments and point-of-sale including Moneris, TouchBistro, NCR, VISA, MasterCard, AMEX, PayPal, and many others.
How does your brand go about promoting diversity and how effective do you think it is?
One of my core principals when I set out to build our team was to create a workplace where all employees would feel valued and respected. Promoting a welcoming environment for everyone has been a critical part of our approach and will continue to be so as we grow our business.