Tribe Payments is a UK B2B fintech business that provides the back-end technology powering the app-based banking and payments services of a growing number of global banks and financial technology companies. Its technology is the first certified issuing and acquiring payments platform in Europe to offer Visa, Mastercard and Union Pay.
We spoke to Suresh Vaghjiani, CEO and co-founder of Tribe Payments, about the challenges and opportunities in the fintech space and the company's global growth plans.
What does your company do?
“A lot of new banks are getting licences in the UK, Europe and globally. These banks have plans to bring very innovative products and amazing user experiences to their customers. We work with these banks and fintechs to provide them with everything that works behind their front end, such as their phone-based app.
In principle, the bank or fintech designs the app and makes sure the user experience is as slick as it can be. Every time a customer clicks on a button in the app it plugs into our platform. We have completely redesigned the back-end technology to empower banks and fintechs to offer a wide range of new services. For example, by using rich transactional data, we can offer a wide array of services such as real-time notifications or budgeting alerts.
We are strictly B2B and do not provide services to the end customers. The one thing that makes us different from other technology providers is that we've built our whole platform using something we call 'modular micro services'. So, every aspect of the service works in isolation - like individual lego blocks of code. This allows us to do upgrades and releases without impacting the wider system.”
“London is the fintech capital of the world. There is so much innovation happening here. The UK and London are leading in this space.”
What operations do you have in the UK?
“The company was set up in October of 2018. We now have 82 staff in total. We have a very experienced team of individuals who have worked in the payments space with leading fintechs such as Revolut, Monzo or Starling. A large amount of the team are developers.
In the London office, our head office, sit all of our product, implementation, marketing and sales teams and senior management. We have a separate office where our development team sit which is in Lithuania.”
What are some of the attractions of being in the UK?
“London is the fintech capital of the world. There is so much innovation happening here. The UK and London are leading in this space. The expertise and the experience that you get in London is unrivalled, so that is the reason why we decided to have London as our headquarters.
On top of that, it is the financial capital of the world, so it totally makes sense. It is also such a major hub that people are either travelling through or are in London when they work in the payments space.”
“The expertise and the experience that you get in London is unrivalled, so that is the reason why we decided to have London as our headquarters.”
What growth plans do you have for your company?
“We have extensive plans to grow out the team here in the UK. We are based in the Shard building in London Bridge. We are planning on hiring a number of account managers and they will be based here. We will also be hiring a chief operating officer in due course. We are going to be growing quite aggressively in London.
We plan to have around 30 per cent of our staff from outside the payments industry in order to challenge ourselves, the way that we do things and to have new ideas. This is something we are passionate about at Tribe.
We also plan to open offices in the United States. There are so many different regulations in the US, and transactions work in a very different way so we are planning to open offices in New York by the end of the year. We also plan to open offices in the Asia Pacific region by the end of the year as well, perhaps in Singapore. Our senior management team will remain in our head office here in the UK.
Every competitor or incumbent that we have seen in the market has built platforms per country or region. But we built our platform from the beginning to service global clients. So, whether it's the US, Latin America, Asia Pacific or Europe, our platform has been built to service all these regions from the outset. Every company we have spoken to has global ambitions. So, the fact that they can work with us globally is a huge advantage.”