Steve Wells: [00:00:00] This is Steve Wells.
Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:00:01] And I'm Jeffrey Feldberg. Welcome to The SellMy Business Podcast.
Steve Wells: [00:00:06] This podcast is brought to you by Deep Wealth.Are you a business owner who is wondering how to either grow your business,sell it, or both?
Or maybe in today's environment,you're wondering how to make your business pandemic proof. Visit deepwealth.comto find out how you can master the strategies to grow and extract the deepwealth from your business. Visit www.deepwealth.com.
Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:00:26] Welcome to episode 20 of the Sell My BusinessPodcast. This episode will be another solo run as Steve Wells continues to takesome much-deserved time off.
Today's guest is Richard Kopman,who is cofounder of the FinTech startup, Pllenty Inc., and serves as the chiefexecutive officer Richard plays an integral role in Pllenty's overall product,business development and strategic planning.
Kopman is a 25-year veteran ofthe IT industry. Having worked with clients in a wide variety of sectors,specifically North American banking and financial services. He has a very handon approach to managing client engagements and truly believes in the value ofthe overall customer experience.
Firms who work with Kopman canexpect a creative visionary who hits the ground running, identifying andcapitalizing on the potential and untapped verticals, and crafting positioningstrategies that create competitive distinction, and galvanize exponentialgrowth in revenue and account capture. Kopman's gift for networking and clientrelations has consistently proven vital in securing prestigious new clients atthe Fortune 2000 levels, such as CIBC, RBC, TD Bank, Scotiabank, National Bank,Financial Citi Bank, Hydro One, Bank of America, Macy's, and Walmart to name afew.
Richard welcome. I know our listeners are in for a real treat.Now I have to be honest with you. When I first began to look at online paymentand processing. I just thought it was same old, same old until I spoke to you.And that's when you opened me up to a whole new world of what should be goingon out there that isn't except for what you're doing. And I know a Deep Wealth,we talk about two things. In this pandemic we talk about how you need to pivotand generally speaking pandemic or not how you need to look for marketdisruptions. And from our point of view on either side of that, the ability toreach out and make it easy for customers to pay is paramount.
In the pandemic today, goingonline is not a luxury, it is now a necessity, but I'm getting ahead of myself.Richard, why don't we start with hearing your story and how you started Pllentyand what that's all about.
Richard Kopman: [00:02:51] Great. Well, Jeffrey I'll start and thank youfor having me on your podcast today.
I will say that your comments are certainlyflattering and more importantly, it's always nice when someone understands thevision that I started with and takes an interest as this is something I reallylike to talk about. To start with, youknow, really from a perspective of, where this came from and the genesis ofPllenty, my vision was something that I had experienced for a couple ofdecades.
My client base, which waspredominantly financial institutions in the US as well as Canada. From astandpoint of seeing these clients and being on their sites and in their callcenters, it was eye-opening to see the struggles they have as there werefootball fields for all sorts of major banks across the country.
Those football fields were predictable dialersand calling and strategies that were so antiquated. It was always a veryadversarial environment between them and their customer. I spent over two decades seeing a situation.Improving the payment experience is very critical. And I didn't predictCOVID-19, but really from a Pllenty standpoint I saw and my partners havehelped me execute, a platform that fills that gap by really making it a morepositive experience. And we found that from a standpoint of whether it's a not-for-profit,auto finance, paying your utility or cable bill, is that if you make it moreamenable for a customer to pay, the likelihood is going to be greater. And evenmore so to a company, as opposed to having an employee call someone ten timesand irritate them over dinner, is that if you communicate them in other waysthat are much more friendly and adoptive is that your human capital cost isgoing to go down as well.
So that’s the tip of the icebergthat got us started.
Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:04:50] Well, it's a terrific and humble beginningfrom what you shared with me offline, but let's get one thing straight. In yourintro you've mentioned some fairly large companies. But I know with what you'redoing and for our listeners, this isn't just for big institutions or largecompanies.
You can have a smaller businessall the way up to a mammoth of a business, Pllenty is so easy for smallerbusinesses to midsize businesses who don't have a dedicated IT team, or don'twant to do a lot of integrations or spend the time and money doing that.
It's easy. So why don't we getthat off the plate first in terms of why you don't need to be a largemultinational business to have a robust online payment system.
Richard Kopman: [00:05:37] So that's a very good point and we learnedthis with our not for profit business, as a lot of them are small organizationsand especially in the religious non-for-profit space, we have churches anddioceses that have parishes across the country that are really ranging frommassive to very small. And it’s important from a software as a serviceperspective that our go to market strategy didn't exclude anyone. So out of thebox, it's a solution that works. We have a dashboard that has single sign on andreally requires very little administration all the way on the other side of it,where we support some of the largest multinational companies in the world.
So, the thing is, is that as faras our core market, we want to ensure that this was something that wasaccessible to all sizes of customer.
Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:06:33] If I'm already with an existingprocessor, two of the more popular ones,say I already have PayPal or Stripe andquite openly when I began looking at where we are as a company here at DeepWealth and what our needs were, I thought, okay, I guess it really hasn'tchanged since things started back in the 1990s onwards, but a revolution istaking place out there in online processing.
For businesses that big or smallalready have an online processor, why would they want to change? What wouldthey get with you that they're not going to get elsewhere?
Richard Kopman: [00:07:07] That's a great question. In almost everycircumstance, when we approach big or small clients alike, they are alreadyprocessing payments today.
So, our value proposition, isn'tthe fact that we can process payments. I mean, as a secure and compliant PCIservice provider, meaning that we adhere to all the federal regulations aroundcard payments and security. It's not about that. That's a very important piece,but that could be offered by every major bank.
The issue that we saw was thatpayment processors like Stripe, or PayPal, which is more of an intermediary toget to the card, is it offering a direct payment of what's in someone's walletand in their pocket is very key. So, what we did, which was unique is weintegrated into the omni-channel. Meaning that we've provided an access pointfor every type of customer that our clients have.
If someone wants to use livechat or sending a mobile message and email or social media, we've heavilyintegrated payment to every channel. And that's really where we get theadoption of our customers, where they say, well, we're with Stripe and we cantake payments over the phone and we have a payment page on our website.Unfortunately, today that's not enough.
If you're going to push out toyour customers and you're going to blend with your brand in a way that's goingto be very customer friendly, especially with COVID-19 where things have becomeincredibly digital around payment. You need to find ways of reaching people andallowing them to pay in the way that is going to be adoptive to them. So beingfast, easy, and convenient is really where our platform stands out,comparatively to what's in the marketplace with payment processing. The onething I'll add to that is that the payment processing space when I looked at itreally lacked innovation. The financial institutions today, they rely on twothings from a revenue standpoint, and it could be Stripe or the largest banksand its interchange, which is the transition action fee for every card type,whether it be Visa, MasterCard, or American Express.
And then the other side of it,it's the rental of point of sale terminals, which have become more and moreobsolete during the pandemic.
Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:09:30] So, let me get this straight because you'veshared a few things. You said payments through email, through your phone. I'mgoing to assume through a computer as well. How, how do you integrate all that?
Perhaps if we take the vantagepoint of a small to midsize business who doesn't want to get caught up in alarge and expensive integration. Whatwould that be like if you can walk our business owners through how youintegrate within their existing systems.
Richard Kopman: [00:09:56] So from a standpoint of, we have a teamthey're certainly all, very well acquainted with our platform from the verybeginning as we follow AWS cloud standards to the highest degree fromcompliance, security, and redundancy. So that means that our platform can beused anywhere in the world, but from the very beginning, we made sure that itwas easy and turnkey to utilize this in any way.
So, we'll use, mobile messagingas, an example messaging as part of our platform, we have the ability to sendout one or a million mobile messages for our clients. And within those messagesis an embedded link to a branded mobile application. So, it doesn't require anydownloading or installing.
It's very similar to somethingthat recently has gone to market for Starbucks and Netflix, it's calledprogressive web application. So, it looks and feels and behaves just like anapp, but it allows someone to utilize it without downloading or installing, orhaving any firmware requirements or going to an app store.
So, it means that someone canclick on a link, right from a mobile message that comes from our platform. It'scompletely customized that message. And from that link, it's PCI compliant,secure, and safe, but it fits around a company's brand. So that's just one ofmany different ways that our customers utilize our platform.
But the point is that ourclients don't need to develop anything. They don't need to integrate. Right offthe bat that works seamlessly. If they choose, we have web service API, we canintegrate with everything from SAP to every loan management software. To evensome stuff that's particular to the Catholic church, which is called DDMS,which is diocese database management systems.
So, we don't have any problem.We have a team of 15 that just handles integration, but we have many clientsthat use this and manually input the data. So, we send reports every day in aformat that they can upload into their systems. And from an accountingperspective and a backend standpoint, they don't have to integrate, but on thefront end, there really is very little that our clients have to do fromeverything from design to implementation to how they're going to utilize thecommunication tools.
The point is, is that they'regiving their customers choice. And that's really the gap that we're fillingthat's missing in the payment space.
Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:12:27] Firstly, a few technical terms for ourlisteners who may not be familiar with them. You mentioned AWS. Why don't youexplain what AWS is and why you chose that as the storage and the backend foryour systems?
Richard Kopman: [00:12:42] AWS is Amazon Web Services and they are thegold standard. Now, as most people are familiar with the company, most businessowners are familiar with their cloud service offering, which is called AWS. Thereason why we chose it is not just the strength of security and compliance,which is really important when you're handling card data in differentcountries, especially the United States, but really more importantly, the factthat we can build it out in any country from a global basis. As we expand as a company, to Europe in themiddle East, you know, other areas of the world, Amazon Web Services allows usto have the reach, to be able to offer our service and our platform anywhere.And from a secure and reliable standpoint with an organization that today isone of the largest companies on the globe.
Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:13:40] And so let me ask you about that because atDeep Wealth, and when our business owners go through the Deep WealthExperience, one of the things that we encourage them and not only encouraged,but insist that they look at is number one, their business model.
And then number two, how tocreate a market disruption, because we know when you create a marketdisruption, you're doing two things as a business owner. Number one, you'refinding a problem, a painful problem that hasn't been solved. So, you'rehelping people which as business owners and entrepreneurs that's really whatwe're all about. So, you're helping people, but at the same time, by creating amarket disruption, you're opening up the next chapter for your business. Andtoday, especially with the pandemic, the next chapter for your business may notbe local.
It may be international. So,from that standpoint, Richard, from customers who are going to be outside ofthe country, what does that look like for a business that's using Pllenty andwhat kinds of payments do you take?
Richard Kopman: [00:14:41] So we accept every card type in the world. So,as I mentioned previously, what’s in their pocket doesn't just pertain to theUnited States. It pertains to any country. Many of the Asian countries, where WeChat is very important or Alipay.Every country has, very different payment habits in terms of payment type.
So, we ensure that our platformis fully able to accept payment types based on the country that we're in.Second to that. It's also the consistency of the type of solution. When we talkabout value, the problem that we've dug into has only exploded unfortunately,with COVID-19.
One of the key problems thatcompanies are having is getting payment. Many people in the world that have lost their jobs. There are manypeople that are having trouble feeding their family. So many different thingsthat COVID-19 has impacted as it relates to people and how they pay.
So, if you add on to that, thatyou're going to make it adversarial with them and difficult, the chances ofgetting payment are going to diminish incredibly at a very rapid pace.Inclusive of that, that, your employees are now working remotely. Look at global enterprises likeSalesforce.com, they have 150 offices and their employees.
Aren't going to be back to workas they've just recently stated in the news until July of 2021 at the earliest.So, your employees now more than ever, if they're calling someone and askingfor payment, need tools at their fingertips that are going to give themstrength in communicating with their customers when they're asking for things.
So, an example would be is thatif you're in Dubai and you want somebody to pay their utility bill or their internetservices, you're going to need more than just calling them and sending them aletter. Our approach through the omni-channel on the front end becomes verycritical in that sense.
So, we're integrated inFacebook, just as much as someone can tap and scan on a letter with a QR code.And those aren't meant to be technology jargon for the sake of beinginnovative. These are impactful things that people have already adopted to. So,everyone knows what a QR code is. It's native to every device, whether it'siOS, whether it's Android and every bricks and mortar store.
And they have been for a longtime. But all you have to do is point your camera at it and make a payment withour platform. That one little piece resonates across so many different businesstypes that we work with. It's almost like a perfect storm that we've come intowith a solution that is more topical than it ever has been.
And the thing is we never wouldwish for this on the world. But I am certainly very proud that we have asolution that fits with the climate that we're living in that can help people.And certainly, more importantly, help organizations have a better relationshipwith their customers.
Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:17:45] Wow. There's a lot to unpack there. Before wego back home here to the US let's revisit internationally.
Part of my frustration as aconsumer, if I'm buying something that's outside of the US dollar, I'm notquite sure what that's really going to cost me whether that's in Euros orPounds or whatever the case may be. On the Pllenty platform. do I see what theactual cost is from my currency, as opposed to what the foreign currency wouldbe?
Richard Kopman: [00:18:13] So we have quite a few customers, especially now in the, not-for-profit space, asthere's been all types of natural disasters that have taken place over the lastfew years, especially in India with flooding and you see it on the news veryfrequently that we don't live in a bubble.
The world is a very small placeand international payment has become core to our platform. So for our customersthat are in the US or Canada, but happen to have outreach and to otheroutlining areas, across the Atlantic, whether it be Europe or the middle East, we convey very clearly in ourinterfaces of what that international fee is as Visa, MasterCard, and the cardbrands generally have fees that are associated with international payment.
If it doesn't originate fromthat country, we're very clear on that. We believe in transparency with ourplatform, as our clients are dealing with our customers, especially aroundcost. Upon checkout or confirmation of that payment, everything is very clearin what currency, but also the entirety of the cost.
And that's very important in allaspects of our business.
Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:19:29] Let's talk about transparency. I know for anexample, here at Deep Wealth, within the mergers and acquisitions industrythere's lots of industry secrets that business owners aren't aware of. And whenit comes to selling your company, what you don't know can and will hurt you.
And so a Deep Wealth, what we dois we expose what those industry secrets are, and not in a negative way, but tosay, okay, if you know that these are here, here's how you can both protectyourself and also leverage this to maximize the value in your business when yougo to sell your company, I would imagine that the mergers and acquisitionsindustry isn't alone.
Richard Kopman: [00:20:08] So it's very interesting that the paymentspace has been very much vilified for lack of transparency. It's an industrythat is transaction based on the processing side predominantly even though ourmodel extends beyond that. All the major pain processes in the world reallyrely on lack of knowledge of what those fees are.
So, it's called interchange andit really is a percentage of each transaction. So whether it's a debit card,whether it's a credit card, whatever bank it's from, each one has a differentpercentage associated with it, what payment processors do and the realsecret, which is becoming more and moreapparent to the average consumer or business owner, is that they make it veryhard to understand what that cost is.
The average merchant gets astatement every month. Very large payment processes, make it very hard to readand understand what that cost is. So, they add all sorts of fees and bundlethem together. So, someone can't figure it out. It's almost like hieroglyphicsthat it's so hard to understand what the cost is that they just go along withit.
The first thing we discussbefore, anything else with our customers is that we'll analyze theirstatements. Our finance team will take a look at them. We'll tell them exactlywhat they're paying today. And we follow a model called interchange plus. Itmeans that we show them exactly what the cost is from the car brand and whatthe additional fee associated with us would be and in total, what they'repaying on every transaction.
That's a rarity that you don'tsee very often in this space. It's been a bad practice that these paymentprocessors have been allowed to, take advantage of for a long time. And itstill hasn't changed is that they prey on the fact that people don't know andwe've taken the opposite approach, especially in a not for profit space wherewe're looking at long-term relationships with our customers and inevitably,they can go to another payment processor tomorrow. If they're not happy,there's no contract or paper, that's going to tie them to us, but theyappreciate the fact that we're open and honest with them. And not only are wesharing our pricing but we're showing them exactly what it is from the get-go.
And we're even guiding them ofwhat they've paid before and giving them additional knowledge, even if theydecide not to go with us. And in the long run, it's a business practice thathas done as well, because even if we didn't get that client initially, Down theroad they ended up coming back to us because they found out on their own thatthey were paying fees they had no idea which were double or triple what theywere budgeted for. And they appreciate the fact that we help them.
Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:22:57] In thespirit of transparency, Richard, to put you on the spot, I'll ask this questionin terms of your services, it sounds like there's a tremendous and extensivebackend that you provide.
So, how do you compare to theother fees that as a business owner, I'd be paying to another processor?
Richard Kopman: [00:23:19] Well, the first component is really the mostimportant, which any major payment processor, including the ones you'vementioned, isn't going to do any integration.
It's not in their businessmodel. They're looking for high volume of transaction and they're not lookingto do anything on the backend. So, it's why I decided that we would invest inhaving our own in-house development team that are focused just on that. So thatalone, the fact that we even offer that to integrate seamlessly into theirsystems is a value proposition that's very rarely even in the marketplace. Thesecond piece is we don't charge for that. It never made sense to me, for thedecades that I worked on all kinds of integration products with SAP and Oracle,it never made sense that I work for organizations that charge for that whenit's the stickiest relationship you can have with someone.
When you integrate with acustomer, you become so close to their data and their systems and theirworkflow. I never understood the idea of charging for that. So, we offer ourdevelopment team, our resources, the integration, for one reason, you're notcontractually obligated to us in any way. There is no term.
That means that you can goelsewhere as I mentioned before. The best thing we can do is integrate and havethat type of trust with our clients. And the truth is, is that not only don'twe not charge for it, but we do all types of custom dev work intoSalesforce.com, even proprietary systems that are specific to an industry.
For one reason, it's a goodbusiness practice. It creates a good relationship with our customers and it'svery long-term thinking.
Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:25:02] I'mwondering, and I'm sure the listeners are wondering with all of that said, itsounds like you're not charging some fees that others would charge.
The day to day transactions,would I be paying any more through Pllenty than I am right now?
Richard Kopman: [00:25:14] So it depends on how you utilize our platform.It is predominantly a pay as you go platform. They are some very minor upfrontfees associated with design, white labeling, and implementation.
But the truth is, is thatthey're nominal comparatively to anything that a company has budgeted for. Butthe truth is, is that our platform is predominantly pay as you go with no monthlyminimums, no subscription for a reason. Is that if our clients are succeedingand I'll give you a couple of examples.
So, whether it's accountsreceivable, management, and that they've now brought down their human capitalcosts and they're collecting more at a faster rate and in a better way withtheir customers, then we win. They're utilizing our platform and there'scertainly revenue coming to us. It doesn't make sense to hold someone to them,monthly minimum, or a standard because of our platform isn't working, we shakehands and walk away.
And I think that's a betterbusiness practice. In addition to that, as far as extra costs, as opposed to apayment processor, our interchange costs are very fair, as we're offering adifferent solution, that's beyond payments. There are other transaction fees ifthey use them. So, whether it's a QR code or a text message, all thecommunication pieces, 5 cents for a chat or 10 cents, for a mobile message, wecharge transaction fees that are related to that. And that's a big difference,but you got to keep in mind that. The people we're competing against in thepayment processing space, aren't even offering those pieces.
So, you're only paying for whatyou use, which is most important, and it's a very nominal transaction fee.
Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:27:04] When welook at the pandemic and I would say Richard, you more than most because ofyour back-end integrations with the businesses that you're working with, thepandemic has been a game changer.
And even as we record thispodcast, the new normal, whatever that is going to be, whatever that lookslike, the rules are being written every day. So for our business owners at DeepWealth that we work with, they're trying to figure out how not only to survive,but to thrive. And we work with them in terms of preparing their business now,So that when they're prepared and they're ready to exit, they'll be the firstin line and be able to get the highest possible value. But I'm curious fromyour perspective, what's changed out there in the business landscape because ofthe pandemic, specifically as it relates to business owners and what can theybe doing about that?
Richard Kopman: [00:27:58] Well, you know, what's changed the most. It'sbeen gradual since March and as things have got considerably worse and there'sbeen more quarantine and everyone expected this to end, there's a attitude nowthat this isn't going away. Anytime soon, we started educational webinars as acompany in the not-for-profit space over the summer for that reason.
And we found that the resistanceto change has gone down considerably amongst the people we speak to. So, duringthese webinars, which are interactive and allow people to ask questions, andthey're not meant from a sales perspective, they are strictly for education onour work, in the NFP space. And we're going to expand that into other areas ofbusiness that we're in today, is that we're finding that the reluctance to dothings that are different is really gone away.
As revenue numbers are startingto come in. the summer has been incredibly painful, painful for a lot ofdifferent organizations. And as I mentioned, particularly, not-for-profits,we're finding now more than ever that there's a very positive attitude towardsbeing flexible and agile and making changes that are going to improve theirbusiness.
We're overwhelmed now as acompany in terms of work. And we never anticipated that it would come likethis, but we're certainly, as I mentioned, pleased that we have an offeringthat's going to help these businesses stay afloat. Especially in thenot-for-profit space. And the truth is, is that giving is a business, just likeanything else.
They have employees, they haveoffice space. They have all these things that a privately or publicly held companyhave. And the truth is, is that they're attitude has changed considerablybecause the money is not coming in. So, the idea of thinking of different waysthey can approach their audience, whether it be a donation or any type ofpayment, everyone's become much more agreeable to finding other options.
And I think really that's beenthe most compelling thing I've seen, especially over the last two months.
Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:30:12] Let's talk about that for just a moment. Andfor our listeners today I want you to really pay attention to this. As abusiness and as a business owner, at Deep Wealth, we feel it's ourresponsibility to find a painful problem and to solve it.
That does a few things. As Imentioned earlier, number one, you're helping people. You're creating value inthe market, but you're also creating value for your business itself. AndRichard, we didn't intend to talk about this, but you bring it up and I'd liketo find out a little bit more. And for those listening, I promise you, I don'twork for Richard or Pllenty we're independent, but what I hear more and morewhat Richard is doing, is just a good news story and some best practices thatwe can all learn from.
So, it's no secret that thepandemic decimated non-for-profits. And especially if you go to places ofworship and you had mentioned some churches and some archdiocese earlier on inour interview. People weren't showing up. They couldn't because of the quarantine.And even now with the social distancing, it's a challenge.
And as organizations dependingon donations, this was bad news for them. So, how have you been able to, if Ican just use that analogy, be the white Knight and just ride in and save them.What did that look like when you're working for the churches as an example,although it can be any place of worship, what did that look like for you,Richard, with the churches and what have you done now to make them more hip,perhaps for people to be able to pay them. And just as an outreach fordonations, what's changed for them now because of working with you?
Richard Kopman: [00:31:52] Well, the church is very, unique in the senseof they came to us many years ago, the Catholic Church, particularly, whichstarted us down this road with religious not-for-profits and now it's includedthe Anglican Church and, it's expanded over many different religiousnot-for-profits. But really from a standpoint of using the Catholic Church asan example, they came to us initially many years ago with the fact that theSunday offering would come along. Someone would pass the collection plate.
And people just don't carry cashon them today. And they didn't have a business solution for that. And throughsome networking and word of mouth of the work that we were doing they came tous and they said, we heard of your solution. And we'd like to see what it cando for us.
So, we came up with a way ofimplementing our QR code in all aspects of whether it be a book of hymns thatsits in a Pew or on the collections plate. On their websites on their mobileapplication and as well, parishioners having magnets on their fridge andstickers that when their neighbors are over, they can tap or scan on that andgive a donation.
So, it started with a fact thata cashless based model was something they needed because people just didn'thave cash and were giving less. So, when they came to us, they were at a 15year low in terms of donations, which is very remarkable, especially for the CatholicChurch that's done very well over the years in terms of fundraising.
So, when COVID-19 hit, it justchanged completely in the sense of the urgency. Once the parishes had to close,they were still paying rent. They were still paying utilities. They had verysenior parishioners that weren't going to come back anytime soon and stillhaven't come back.
It's just a fear of gettingsick. it's really triples and quadrupled our business with them just for thesheer urgency that they need a way to keep the lights on. With the Catholic church, every dime goes tothe different offerings that they have, whether it's painting widows’ houses,rebuilding a church, feeding the poor.
So, the fact that they don'thave money coming in has created this urgency that we happen to have a platformnow that is not only credible, but well known amongst their peers. So, from aninbound standpoint, we're getting so much uptick in terms of not justresponsiveness, but them approaching us in the sense of saying, we need to getthis implemented immediately.
The fall is coming or certainholidays are coming and we need the ability to get donations. And the fact thatwe can do it turnkey and that within a week to ten days that we can have themup and running has made it incredibly compelling. So, I appreciate your commentof us being the white knight, but really, we've been very lucky.
And as you know, within businessis a time and place are a big part of the success of a company and a little bitof luck. My partners and I, and we've executed on a vision that I alwaysbelieved very strongly in, is that the fact that we're living in a world wherethe churches like many other not-for-profit businesses are struggling.
And the truth is, is that we'reready to deploy a solution that's going to help them instantaneously, which isall they want to hear.
Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:35:33] It's a great example, Richard of a win, win,win for the people who want to donate and want to give you've now made it easyfor them, for the churches as you mentioned, or any not-for-profit, it'skeeping the lights on and an outreach that just makes it easy. And it'sfascinating to hear it and congratulations on having the uptick in donationsand then on the back end, you're helping everyone else first and foremost. Butat the same time, it's also like helping your company to prosper, get outthere, come up with some more innovations and succeed.
And that's really the way thatit should be so a big congratulations on that.
Richard Kopman: [00:36:10] Thank you.
Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:36:11] So from the not-for-profits, let's go back tosocial media. With the pandemic socialmedia now more than ever has become important for businesses.
It's a great way to reach yourcustomers, get the message out there, but also becoming increasingly a terrificway of selling your services. So, how does that work now with Pllenty andsocial media? You had mentioned Facebook, but if we took some of the, at leasthere in North America, some of the larger platforms, Facebook or Instagram,even Twitter, what does that look like for you in terms of integration from abusiness owner's perspective?
How does that work?
Richard Kopman: [00:36:51] We launchedthis about two years ago and it's called Pllenty Social Exchange, and it wasreally a matter of that. Like anything. We listen to our customers and I thinka lot of technology companies have difficulty doing that. They go to marketwith solutions to be innovative without listening.
As a team we do a really goodjob of going to market with stuff that fundamentally is going to fill a void.Almost every one of our customers has millennials in their customer base andreally from a client perspective, their struggle is that generation of customerchanges their phone number changes their email is transient. Their addresschanges very often. So, when they are wanting them to pay for whatever reasons,whether it be donation or a payment on an overdue bill, is that it made sensethat one thing that they do not change is their social media presence. Theykeep that consistent across the board.
So, we integrate into Facebook,Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat for a reason because we never understood thefact that you can be on Facebook messenger, but there's no real ability forcompany to facilitate payment securely on a social media page. It was something that was needed, but hasbeen ignored, and really from a disruption standpoint, I'm always a bigbeliever in tackling fundamental to business problems that are in the worldthat are just not being addressed.
And whether it's an underservedmarket or it's a platform, it's the same idea is that we've now made it easy.If somebody is, and we'll use Facebook, if someone's on a charitableorganization social media page or they're on YouTube, made it easy for them tomake payments. And the thing is, is that it just supporting another channelthat a whole generation that's growing and is massively representative in themarketplace is that we've now opened that channel. So they have an access pointthat's adoptive to their payment needs no different than having Chat Pay, whichis our integrated, chat experience with payment is that we're trying to supportmethods of payment and communication tools that are already out there in themarketplace that people are using, but we're making it safe and secure for themto pay.
And social media is a big partof that.
Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:39:23] That's terrific. As I hear your story and what you're doing,and I put myself in the shoes of our business owners. Number one there's no,excuse not to be online. As I said earlier, it's no longer a luxury. It's anecessity. And now that you're online, there's absolutely no reason why youcan't offer payments across all the online channels. When I'm going through a payment throughPllenty does the customer know the difference or does it look like it's theactual business that they were just on the website or on their YouTube channelor on the Instagram? What does that look like?
Richard Kopman: [00:39:59] So our design team is in house and it's againon the front end, one of the most critical pieces of how we implement andintegrate with any company. So, we represent significant brands that theirbranding kit and the look and feel is the most critical of how their customersexperience. So our design team works with all of the colors, fonts, and everyaccess point, whether it be chat, whether it be their web page, whether it bethe mobile application for complete a white label experience, as proud as weare of Pllenty as a company and all of us certainly have worked very hard to buildit.
We understand that our clientsdo not want to see our name anywhere. They want to see their brand and theircustomers want to be reflective of where they make payment. Our job is to keepit secure and safe for facilitating that payment, making the experience very positive.
But as far as branding andcredit, we want to make sure that it's seamless around our customer's brand.
Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:41:04] Richard, it almost sounds too good to be true.So, what's the catch?
Richard Kopman: [00:41:11] Well, the thing is, is that the reason why,and I'll go back to my initial comment about not obligating anyone to use ourplatform. So, we keep the upfront costs very minimal. If none at all. Inaddition to that, it's transaction-based with no commitment and a customer canleave us at any time. Our churn rate has been less than a half of 1%.
And the thing is, is that wekeep our customers for a reason. For the right ones, meaning that we're doing agood job in offering our solution. So, we don't rush and say, you have to signup by today. You have to commit. We walk through our customers potential andcurrent with every aspect of what we do. So, it doesn't come off as too good tobe true. We're very thorough, not just from onboarding, but before that, wewalk through, as you've seen it yourself in very thorough detail of what ourplatform can do. It's not vaporware. We show real live business use cases. Inaddition to that, we're very clear on what our platform can achieve. So, wewant to make sure that we're not pushing our customers into anything and thatwe're completely upfront about everything that we can do for them.
We don't make promises. and underdeliver, we make sure that from the get-go that any client that we're workingwith has a clear understanding of what we offer and where the value is. I takeno offense if someone says to us, it's too early, this isn't for us. Or we justwant to process payments the way we are today.
But the truth is, is that a lotof people are looking for change and we've hit on something that mostorganizations in the world aren't touching. And again, it goes back to mycomment of time and place. When I used toattend conferences before the pandemic, the most common question I've had overthe years is why didn't someone else come out with this first?
There's never a good answer forthat is that I was looking at something as. I mentioned, it shows you how longit took me. I was looking at the same thing and it still took me 20 years tofigure it out. My partners and I have executed something that really, we had noidea at the time how important it was going to be.
I always stand by what we do, but that doesn'tmean it's for everybody. At the end of the day, I would find that our audiencecontinues to grow. And when I say audience, I mean business types and therereally isn't a client type, whether it be B2B or B2C that doesn't see value insome way of utilizing our platform.
Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:43:53] It's a terrific story. And I have no doubtthat the story is just beginning with good things ahead for you. So, Richard,as we begin to wrap up, I'd like to ask you a question that I ask every gueston the podcast and your answer could be either personal or business or a blendof both. And the question for you is this, as you look back to yourachievements and your accomplishments to your lessons learned, if you couldonly pick one thing that you would tell your younger self to do either more of,or less of, what would that be?
Richard Kopman: [00:44:32] That's a great question. So, I'd say a couplethings. One thing that I've learned more than anything else is that I'm now 46.I turned. 46 in June. And I would say, to my younger self, as I did try some entrepreneurialwork in my late teens and early twenties, and say that if I did this then, Iwould have had a great deal of trouble succeeding.
When you're an entrepreneur youneed a lot of people that trust you that are going to come along with you forthe ride to help you execute on this.
I have excellent partners. I'mnot an autocrat. I have a board of directors. We've brought on many boardadvisors from Fortune 2000 companies. All of these people have been critical ofus succeeding and it's not something my younger self would have been able toachieve. Because at that age, you just don't have the network trust andbusiness experience to see that.
You know, my most important roleis the CEO of this company is finding good people to join our team. And thething is, is that our board advisors have opened us up to some of the largestnot-for-profits. One was a former CIO of the Red Cross to some of the bestbusiness people from capital markets who've helped us from an investmentperspective. So, the thing is you need all these pieces.
My partners are just ascommitted as I am, and they have sacrificed enormously to help me, build thiscompany. And the thing is, is that that's not something that you have the aptitudeor experience at a young age that I realized now that I might not be as prettyas I used to be. If you take thefacetiousness aside is that life experience has been something that's helped meenormously over the last seven years, cultivate a group of people that havehelped us succeed, which is probably the most critical thing of where we aretoday.
Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:46:33] Wonderfulinsights.
And for our listeners take noteand internalize that and replicate that because success leaves clues and youjust heard a path for success. It's certainly helped Richard and it'll helpyou. So, Richard, as we now wrap this up and in the show notes, we'll put alink to Pllenty. If somebody wants to find you online, where can they do that?
Richard Kopman: [00:46:56] So it's very easy. It's Pllenty with two L's.There's only one of us and it's pllenty.com We have a great customer care and support team, whether it be by phone, chat, or email youcan reach out to us and we'd be happy to consult with you at no charge and talkto you about your business problems.
we have a great team that reallygets involved and gets her hands dirty. no pun intended, but really from aperspective of, we're always happy to just answer some questions. It’s notwhat's in it for us. I think it's a great business philosophy to try to helpothers. And we certainly are trying to do the same during this challengingtime.
Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:47:39] Richard spoken like the true leader that youare. I want to thank you not only for your time today, but for your insightsand sharing stories and taking us on the journey that you've gotten to todayand also what's ahead for you. And I wish you only continued success and goodthings ahead. Thank you so much, Richard.
Richard Kopman: [00:48:00] Thank you, Jeffrey. And I appreciate youhaving me today and, it's been a very engaging discussion.