Prajit Nanu (CEO and Co-Founder) and Spencer Hanlon (Head of Global Travel and Head of Europe) at Nium, spoke with Pascal Burg (Director, Paris) and Samee Zafar (Director, London). During their conversation, Prajit and Spencer shared their views on embedded fintech, Nium’s entrance into travel payments and their new Crypto-as-a-Service (CaaS) capabilities.
1. What is your view on the development of embedded fintech in the next 12 months globally?
Accelerating e-commerce momentum and a preference for a cashless society have made embedded fintech a catalyst for new customer engagement opportunities. The next 12 months will see this sector grow at an extremely rapid pace as more and more companies embed new fintech experiences alongside their core offerings. Payments, in particular, will be a growth driver for the sector as businesses expand operations beyond current borders to participate in the global economy. We see global market opportunities in embedded fintech, cross-border transfers, and card payments being large and rapidly expanding. We estimate these global trends to have a total addressable market of nearly $50 trillion. Global companies often contract with multiple providers to embed financial services – creating a web of complexity as they scale across borders and payment types. At Nium we remove the complexity of global payments by seamlessly connecting businesses to a global payments infrastructure with one API suite. Supported by Nium’s portfolio of licenses, local or regional businesses turn into global payments providers, and global companies become local players overnight.
2. Why did Nium buy into travel payments during a pandemic?
Nium is dedicated to making global commerce simpler, and global travel is a huge enabler of global commerce. Consequently, we saw the travel payments sector as a perfect fit for our mission from a strategic perspective. Undoubtedly, the travel payments industry has experienced a tough time during the pandemic, but we began to witness the early "green shoots" of a recovery in Q2 of this year. Wind forward to today, and the recovery is accelerating at an impressive pace. Looking ahead, we expect the bounce back to continue at speed for the rest of 2021 and well into 2022 as the globe eagerly returns to travel for both leisure and business. There is incredible pent-up demand globally for travel, not least the millions of families looking to reunite after such a long time apart. Nium has a significant role to play globally in facilitating this return to travel, by making it simpler, cheaper and faster to make travel-related payments globally. Thus, in our humble opinion, it was the perfect time to move into this incredible sector, and with Ixaris, we have equipped ourselves with an awesome set of capabilities to support our existing and future customers.
3. What do you think of crypto’s role in global B2B commerce?
Embedded finance is helping companies go to market faster, and it frees them from a lot of the regulatory complexities that global finance brings. That now extends to crypto as it rushes toward mainstream acceptance. While crypto is still a nascent technology and it needs both maturity and regulatory frameworks to become a mainstream tool for the end consumer, businesses can harness the power of crypto today, enabling their transactions to happen at blazing speeds and leverage the free cash to higher yields than traditional financial products. At Nium we are constantly looking to redefine payments for the modern era with an infrastructure that finally makes it easy for companies to embed financial services, and crypto is a product we have been waiting to launch for a while now. Last week we announced the rollout of our new CaaS (crypto-as-a-service) capabilities to better serve our clients in their embedded finance stack, alongside the related compliance services such as KYC and AML.Our new CaaS (crypto-as-a-service) seamlessly integrates into Nium’s existing single API to allow Nium clients the opportunity to offer five cryptocurrencies in 20 countries worldwide, including the UK and Europe. Our clients will be able to offer cryptocurrency investments for their users, including the buying, selling, and holding of the most popular digital assets; future service elements will allow for stablecoin wallets as well as crypto acceptance.
4. Prajit, you have recently announced a multi-year partnership with the International Cricket Council. Can you tell us a bit of how that came about? Are you a big fan of cricket, and how does this tie in with the fintech world?
I am the biggest cricket fan, and everyone who knows me has said this partnership has been a long time coming and that I would always find a way to tie in my love for cricket with my passion for innovative fintech solutions. Cricket is a global phenomenon and Nium, like the game of cricket, reaches a global audience. Our fintech infrastructure connects the globe, and like cricket reaches millions, regardless of country, currency or culture. For years, Nium has been the behind-the-scenes fintech infrastructure powering some of the most recognised brands in the world. This partnership with the ICC allows us to showcase our fintech innovations on a global stage and engage cricket-loving technologists in developing new programs to advance the game experience.
5. Spencer, you have recently moved from a career in large multinational businesses to work in a FinTech hypergrowth company - what does it feel like to make the switch?
Simply amazing. Once I had sorted my wardrobe out with more jeans, fresh t-shirts and new trainers, I was all set! Seriously, I love it. The pace of change, the size of ambition and the amount of personal accountability is awesome. Our culture is one of openness, respect and moving fast. At Nium there is no limit to the ambition of what we want to achieve, and this attracts some really bright and creative folks. I am learning every day, and I am thrilled to be able to bring this energy and flexibility to an industry I have worked in for three decades.
About Prajit Nanu
Prajit Nanu is the CEO and Co-Founder of Nium, a leading embedded fintech company that provides banks, payment providers, and businesses of any size with access to global payment and card issuance services via one API. Prajit founded Nium with a vision for a world where people’s money is free for them to use, whenever, wherever, and however they want. This vision resulted in creating popular Nium-powered services, including Instarem, a cross-border payments solution for consumers and small businesses. He is directly responsible for all aspects of the company strategy, from product innovation to geographic expansion. Under his leadership,Nium has grown to be one of the fastest-growing fintech in the world and the first global B2B payments unicorn from SEA, processing more than $8 billion in transactions annually and serving close to 130 million customers. Prior to Nium, Prajit held leadership positions in various global organisations. He was the Global Sales Director at TMF Group, a multinational professional services firm headquartered in Amsterdam, and was the Vice President of Sales and Account Management at WNS Global Services, a business process management company.
About Spencer Hanlon
Spencer Hanlon is Global Head of Travel Payments and Head of Europe at Nium, a leading embedded fintech company that provides banks, payment providers, and businesses of any size with access to global payment and card issuance services via one API. In his role, Spencer is instrumental in developing strategies to optimise and help shape the future of B2B travel payments. His experience in travel payments spans over 25 years, seeing him hold senior leadership positions at British Airways, AirPlus International and Ixaris. Spencer is a qualified management accountant (CIMA) and beneficiary of living and working in over 19 different countries during his childhood and career to date.
Nium is a leading embedded fintech company that provides banks, payment providers, and businesses of any size with access to global payment and card issuance services via one API. Its modular platform enables pay-outs, pay-ins, card issuance, and banking-as-a-service.Once connected to the Nium platform, businesses can payout in more than 100 currencies to over 190 countries - 85 of which in real-time. Funds can be received in 33 markets, including Southeast Asia, the UK, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, India, and the US.Nium’s growing card issuance business is already available in 32 countries, including Europe (SEPA), the UK, Australia, and Singapore. Core to Nium is its licence infrastructure, built over time in some of the fastest-growing economies. Nium owns the broadest licence portfolio, covering 11 of the world’s jurisdictions, enabling seamless global payments and rapid integration, across multiple geographies. For more information, visit: https://www.nium.com.
The content of this article does not reflect the official opinion of Edgar, Dunn & Company. The information and views expressed in this publication belong solely to the author(s).