5 Minutes With Daniel Chatelain
Founder, BayPay Forum
We recently interviewed the founder of BayPay Forum, Daniel Chatelain, a serial entrepreneur and evangelist of mobile payments. He created the BayPay Forum, working as a not-for-profit organization, to provide an international networking forum for payment and commerce executives. With more than 10,000 members and thousands of companies connected through events in the US and Europe, the organization has designed a software platform for payment professionals to get or share information about the industry.
AH: It sounds as if BayPay Forum provides opportunities for business leaders in payment and prepaid technology to get together and learn from each other. When you started, what was the Forum’s main purpose?
DC: At The BayPay Forum, we connect. We connect people to people; people to new ideas; startups to established companies and vice versa; and investors to opportunities. From the start, we wanted to bring together a community of people to accelerate innovation in emerging payment technologies, such as mobile payment, big data and the monetization of data, contactless technologies and many other areas, existing or upcoming, with a very technological and business focus.
In 2005 we held an event at Stanford to discuss alternative means of payments for merchants where we invited PayPal and BillMeLater to present their strategies. I realized very quickly that networking events alone weren’t going to achieve my goal. Over time, I developed a strategy around five stages:
The first phase was networking events that would focus on trends and bring people together to talk about them. The second was to expand the BayPay community to include every aspect of a strong innovation ecosystem: individuals; start-ups; investors and enterprises. The third phase was to create a technology platform that could scale to automate the processes required in the organization of all these events and to bring these people together globally. The fourth phase was to expand the Forum into local chapters in US and European cities, and the fifth is providing services to individuals, start-ups, investors and enterprises that could be tailored to their specific needs and increase their effectiveness in strategy, awareness or go-to-market.
AH: So far, how has your idea worked out?
DC: The BayPay Forum offers the Social Membership and the BayPay Advisors program to facilitate networking, education and action on trends and innovation. The Fintech and the payment industry are very special as relationships are key to success. No one can really do it alone. You need allies and partners. Our network of companies makes it much easier for an entrepreneur, a startup or even an established player to connect with peers in this industry, and find partners or customers. With now over 10,000 members, we get more and more requests for hosting our events, requests from conference organizers to partner with us to bring them good content on innovation and trends in this space, or from companies to help them create awareness on what they are doing.
AH: Can you give us an example of how networking has sparked new ventures?
DC: Yes, let’s look at contactless technology on the POS side. Way before the introduction of contactless cards in the US, we invited Inside Contactless (Inside Secure) and Vivotech (acquired since then) to speak about the technology and benefits associated with contactless cards in payments. A year after, we did an event on the business opportunities in contactless cards. Then a year later, we ran an event about mobile phones and how they could use the same technology (NFC) to enable secure proximity payments. Since these events, we had 100 million contactless cards issued in the US followed by the creation of Isis (JV with major US telcos) and the announcement of Apple Pay reviving the industry on the opportunities associated with NFC technology. In October, our event compared NFC, HCE, SE and TEE with 10 speakers and 140 attendees in the room and many more online as this event was broadcast live on our website.
AH: So what happens at an event? I believe many are held in Silicon Valley regions.
DC: Yes, we started in the heart of Silicon Valley. San Francisco was our second market, and although close, it is far enough from Silicon Valley that it has its own requirements and community. Then we opened Los Angeles and Santa Monica. Our process involves the understanding of a particular market that has a potential ecosystem of startups and established companies in payment or commerce. In Southern California, we focus more on entertainment, digital media and mobile for example. In 2015 we want to open new cities to replicate our success on the west coast and create a global network of innovation executives. We don’t want to confine our community to people living, visiting or interested in just the Silicon Valley.
We held three-hour events, including networking and presentations, and created surveys to gather feedback from BayPay members to improve our format or content.
Our Social Mixer initiative focuses on building personal relationships; discussion of new trends and the business behind the technology. We notify people 24 hours before the event with the precise location, which depends on the number of people who respond. Usually the events draw between 20-50 people each month. Some attendees recently were China Union Pay, Google, Visa, and MasterCard Europe who attended and discussed global payments.
AH: You developed a software platform. How did that help?
DC: We found that a software platform could implement all of the things we learned during all our years of trial and error. The platform is in its 4th generation integrating a host of elements including email marketing, event page registration, payment capability (without storing credit cards numbers), a calendar of events, membership management, a CRM system, surveys, news curation, proprietary Slideshare that is protected by password or level of membership, a content management system, a blog, a survey and poll capability and many other things under the hood to make our life easier organizing all these events.
At the end of 2014 we tested our members, our team and our technology platform with 13 events in nine weeks. The results were excellent and we are already planning four to seven events a month, with more when we open new cities. Europe will see several BayPay Innovation Days, a format we successfully launched a few years ago.
AH: Would you mention a couple of leading companies to keep an eye on (that might be game-changers in the payment industry)?
DC: There are many innovators, not just one winner in payments. Apple Pay is an interesting payment system enabling EMV and tokenization. The Retail Exchanges introduced CurrentC and they are pushing EMV and migration is coming with banks.
Companies like Securekey in Identity aggregation, Proxama in HCE and proximity marketing, Ingenico with its new Telium Tetra marketplace are just a few examples of how our industry is thriving. And the pace is not ending any time soon.
AH: What is it like to work in Silicon Valley with all those innovators? What are the next big things we can expect to see change the way consumers shop and transact?
DC: Certainly, there is an evolution of commerce with new opportunities all the time. Messaging phenomenon Snapchat is one example of how companies are collaborating to improve experiences and security. Snapchat set out to make payments faster and more fun, but knowing that security is essential, they partnered with Square, which has a ton of experience in dealing with money. People 18 or older, usually friends, are able to link their debit cards to share the purchase of goods.
I often call Silicon Valley “The Disruption Factory.” We want to make things better. If we see something broken or inefficient, there is a business opportunity. It can be a big market like Uber, Square, Facebook and many others are involved in, or it can be smaller.
Here are a few examples of areas you will see changing in the future. ACH has to be improved in the US and people are working on it. Api-ization and cloudification of services, the future of POS, Internet of Things in commerce or international remittance and payments all have a lot of potential.
AH: Finally, Daniel, what is the biggest obstacle to consumer adoption of NFC/EMV mobile payments:
DC: Glad you asked this question. The BayPay Forum doesn’t have all the answers so we did a survey of our members that indicated the biggest obstacle to consumer adoption of NFC/EMV mobile payments over the next 12 months is the lack of a reason for consumers to change from swiping cards. Nearly half of the respondents felt this was the primary obstacle, with “a lack of understanding about how it works.” Security concerns ranked third. We believe that the availability of working NFC readers during the next year, coupled with the current low use of mobile phones for payments could mean that adoption will take longer than a year. In the short term, consumers will continue existing behaviors.
Daniel Chatelain is Founder of BayPay Forum. Visit BayPay Forum online at www.baypayforum.com.