Podcast January 11, 2022

Partnerships: The Secret to Fintech Success

Let’s not sugarcoat it: When you’re breaking into a new market, there are some serious hurdles.

Whether it’s navigating labyrinthine regulations or just getting the lay of the land — breaking into a new market is easier with partners.

Just ask Marcus Shin, Managing Director at WireBarley, how he and his team have broken into several new markets in the past few years — all with the help of partners.

Join us as we discuss:

  • The regulatory challenges in the US and abroad
  • Tangible examples of how partnerships help you succeed
  • Why startups depend on speed — and how partners help you attain it

Ready to branch out into new territory? Let’s explore more.

Finding the right partner is the key when you enter into a new market.” — Marcus Shin

A new landscape

Marcus is a force for good in the global finance industry. Armed with a Master’s from the prestigious London Business School, he’s got years of impressive global experience.

A former VP of Deutsche Bank Korea, he’s been with WireBarley since 2016. In that time, the company has expanded from Asia and NZ/ Australia, successfully expanded into North America, and is now launching service in the UK.

Jumping into the US market in 2019 was no easy feat. Marcus points out that “there was this huge black box about the banking relationships with the regulations compliance.” The amount of prep seemed overwhelming.

Reaching out

The WireBarley team had been familiar with Currencycloud for some time — years, in fact. At the moment they decided to breach the US marketplace, Marcus placed a simple cold call to the number on the website, and thus a lucrative partnership was born.

Currencycloud’s vital assistance helped Marcus and his organization make it through the “painful due diligence” with flying colors. It was incredibly fortuitous that Currencycloud had already undertaken this journey, and was now in a position to share precious knowledge.

“When you are running a startup, time is everything.” — Marcus Shin

Benefits and resources

It’s extremely difficult for outside organizations to catch every single nuance of American financial regulations. Doing so requires a vast investment of manpower, and startups don’t usually have a lot of that laying around.

Forming a partnership with an org that’s well-versed in the intricacies of the US banking system was crucial to WireBarley’s successful entrance into it. Farming out these efforts to a partner with more know-how in that niche is the most efficient way to market.

Finding the right one

Doing your research is key to sourcing the best partnerships for your company’s needs. Technology vendors can especially offer lists of features that sound exactly the same, so it pays to drill down to what really matters.

“You have to define who can be your real supporter in the long run,” Marcus recommends. There will be unforeseen issues, so a partner with a powerful customer support team is absolutely crucial.

Don’t be fooled by a fancy website with a laundry list of exotic features. Here are the qualities you should take into consideration when searching for a viable and beneficial partnership:

  • Experience — review their previous accomplishments.
  • Expertise — are they servicing the right niche?
  • Reputation — word of mouth is everything.
  • Customers — who are their current buyers?

What it all comes down to is, are they going to be there for you during the hard times? Fostering a strong relationship with your partners leads to more beneficial interactions over the long run.

“My recommendation is to find the right partner, and focus on what you’re good at.” — Marcus Shin

Unpredictable uncertainties

Crossing the border into Canada was no cakewalk either for WireBarley. Our friendly neighbors to the north have an entirely different banking system, of course, requiring a whole new wealth of knowledge. The transition and integration period was not without some painful lessons.

Canada has an intricate financial ecosystem with a few remarkably specific regulations that can trip up an unaware Fintech that’s trying to branch out. Their remittance framework is completely different — and something of a minefield for companies that depend on auto debiting.

The UK and beyond

Marcus and WireBarley are again partnering with Currencycloud to facilitate the moves into the United Kingdom and Europe.

In this growth stage, they don’t have all the time in the world to learn British banking traditions, some of which have been in place for centuries. Hence another rewarding partnership that saved a lot of money and time.

“We have zero worries about Currencycloud’s capabilities in Europe because you were born there,” says Marcus. This part of WireBarley’s expansion should be vastly easier, having a longtime partner with deep native insight into the EU financial world.

New developments

WireBarley is making it immensely easier for people to send money from abroad back to Asia, with nearly 60% of their transactions being completed within minutes. They offer a frictionless and user-friendly customer experience.

Marcus hopes this speed will give his team a competitive advantage in the European market. He’s also focusing on new products like a multicurrency card, neo banking, and services specific to the underserved, immigrants, and digital nomads, like building local credit.

Fintech is meant to fill the gaps left by the traditional banking structures, and these are the partnerships that will nourish a global economy.

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