Paul Weingarth is CEO and Co-Founder of Slyp, an innovative provider of digital receipts sent straight to your banking app. Slyp eliminates paper receipts, helps retailers’ engage with customers and makes it easier to file tax returns.
2020 has been a big year with CBA investing in the business, making Slyp the first Fintech startup to partner with all 4 major banks in Australia.
How did the idea for Slyp come about?
I spent part of my career at PayPal, where I lead the merchant and strategic partnership team for Australia and New Zealand. I saw a huge opportunity to provide a step change in the consumer experience. Particularly around paper receipts and unlocking value around the payment. What I couldn’t see was a platform for retailers and consumers to engage in a much more personalised and engaging way.
But it was a personal experience that I had while I was paying with my phone. I was buying a power tool, and I got to the checkout, tapped my phone. And after the transaction, the cashier told me to take a picture of the receipt on my phone and email it to myself.
I thought There’s got to be a better way of doing this, particularly with the evolution of contactless payments and how far that technology’s come. Australia really is a world leader, but the stuff that happens post payment or around the payment is being left behind with paper receipts.
Assembling The A-Team.
I was very fortunate to find two other co-founders. I am very humbled that they came on the journey when I had this crazy idea to transform the post purchasing experience. Spiro Rokos, our CTO and Chief Product officer was formerly the Head of Technology at PayPal, so I have a long standing working relationship with him.
Most importantly, early on when he and I were together, we realised the banking world is a completely different beast. We needed to find someone who had really solid executive experience in the banks. And that’s when Mike Boyd came along. Mike was the former CIO of the institutional bank at ANZ. And in his most recent role before he left to join us, was Group Data Officer of the bank. So we were very fortunate for Mike to join.
What’s the Big Vision You Have For Slyp?
The movement away from physical contact and the acceleration of moving to a cashless society. Receipts are an extension to that, and we see a big opportunity for us to make an impact right now. And in the future with a more intuitive and clever way for retailers to engage with their customers after they leave the store.
The big vision for Slyp is to completely transform the way retail and commerce for that matter is done. That sounds like a pretty big bold ambition. You look at what’s happening in China, in Asian markets, for example, you’ve got these super apps, Alipay and WeChat Pay. They’ve done an incredible job at not only transforming the use of cash to digital, but completely transforming the way consumers and merchants connect.
You can book a restaurant table, you can repurchase items that you bought in the store online through their app, it’s incredible what they’ve done.
The payment is the commodity, moving money from A to B is the commodity, it’s what you wrap around the payment. Now, if you look at the players like Alipay and Wechat, they operate in what we call a closed loop environment or what we in the payments industry refer to as a three party model.
The unfair advantages of a three party model is that the digital wallet (wechat, Alipay) they know, every single customer and every single merchant in the transaction. The model is conducive to enabling amazing connections between merchants and consumers, because there’s one centralised provider of that payment system and that network. Now if you look at what’s happening in Australia, for example, the way banks operate is a four party mode. There is no common denominator and a lot of fragmentation under that model.
One of the reasons the banks want to partner with us is, we take all the benefits of a three party model and bring it into the four party model. By consolidating these fragmented networks into one network, and into one standard, Slyp is creating a whole new world of opportunity for retailers to re-engage with customers in a personalised clever way around the payment.
Tell us more about Slyp’s partnership with the Big Four banks.
Our distribution is reliant on the scale of the banks to actually deliver the receipt to the customer inside the banking app. Customers will simply be able to pay with their card or their phone. And then without having to do anything different, they will receive this smart receipt. So it’s not just a digital safe, it’s a smart receipt with a bunch of really intuitive features that instantly and automatically go integrate with your banking app with context. So when you click on a transaction or when you want to search for a receipt, it’s all sitting there right inside your banking app.
Obviously, for the solution to work it is paramount we get those banks on board and partnerships in place. Banks have a really good coverage when it comes to the retail or the merchant side. So we’re partnering with them to roll out the solution across Australia on both sides of the network, which is very, very exciting.
What’s been your experience collaborating with the Big Four banks? And how open are the banks to working with Fintech?
The banks have done collaborations before, Eftpos, Bpay and even most recently with the New Payments Platform. So it isn’t uncharted territory in terms of banks collaborating to build an industry standard. Where our collaboration is uncharted territory is for the Big 4 to invest in an early stage FinTech like Slyp, who operate completely independent of them.
And I really think that’s a new way of innovating. And putting the customer at the centre of innovation. And we’re really humbled and honoured to have the opportunity to build this in partnership with the banks for Australia. I mean, it’s a, it’s a big, it’s a big task for us to take on. We’re a relatively small team, but we can move fast and obviously, with the backing of the banks, not only from a financial perspective, but from a distribution perspective, all of the pieces of the puzzle come together quite nicely.
We hope our collaboration with the banks is a signal to many fintechs. I think more than ever, the banks are realising that rather than build ourselves, let’s partner.
To be fair to the banks there’s a big disconnect too. We even went through this ourselves. What we thought was enterprise bank grade ready was not. To go from a proof of concept to a fully functioning core banking app is like learning how to drive a car vs. learning to fly a plane.
If the FinTech community wants to truly partner with banks then they need to be particularly strong in areas like security, data governance and privacy. Otherwise you are turning up to a gunfight with a knife.
Security, privacy etc. are very important to us. But our obsession as a FinTech, as with every other FinTech is to focus on the customer. People say, Oh, you’re in the receipts business or you’re in the data business, the rewards business. No, we’re in the business of customer experience. And that’s what gets us out of bed every morning.
And our obsession as a FinTech, as with every other FinTech is solely focus on the customer. People say, Oh, you’re in the receipts business or you’re in the data business, the rewards business. No, we’re in the business of customer experience. And that’s what gets us out of bed every morning.
Slyp has a tremendous board. Has that made life a bit easier to get more traction?
Absolutely, particularly now with CBA, coming onto the board, it really does cement Slyp as the partner to deliver an industry standard for digital receipting. Retailers, they all understand the value prop. They all understand that this is the right thing to do for their customers.
They all understand that this is actually really good value for them as a business. But what they weren’t so sure about, Is Slyp the real deal? Are we the chosen one? So there were still some question marks obviously before this announcement with CBA having a big chunk of the consumer card issuing space.
I don’t know the exact numbers, but CBA definitely holds the leading position. So we were very fortunate that CBA came on to the network and that is absolutely going to help us flourish.