European Business: Mr. Holzner, the world of Fintechs offers many high-profile opportunities around the world such as Silicon Valley. What attracted you to AEVI in Germany?
Nelson Holzner: AEVI has a great growth story, there are very few businesses with a similar track record in Europe, or with a similar trajectory in early years. Annual revenues of 80 million EUR are very sizeable in the Fintech space. Coupling this with products and platforms which are scalable and truly global, makes AEVI one of the most exciting Fintech companies around. We have a global product offering which is addressing big real world problems. We help banks and acquirers to get closer to their merchants and merchants to get closer to their customers, while at the same time creating new business and revenue streams. In addition, we reduce complexity and costs regarding payments for multinational merchants.
European Business: You have been appointed CEO of AEVI to lead the expansion in Europe and North America. What are the key elements of your strategy?
Nelson Holzner: Following our success in Australia with the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, we announced a number of partnerships in Europe, and have already built a strong business with 1.2 billion transactions worldwide in 2016. We now have over 100,000 of our Albert SmartPOS devices in operation, and an ever-growing portfolio of over 70 apps in our Global Marketplace for merchants to select from. We have also connected a 2nd hardware device to our marketplace, and intend to grow our range further. Now, we are ready for the US, and welcome US merchant banks and acquirers, ISOs, VARs and hardware providers to join us in our quest to embrace the idea of an open, collaborative ecosystem. We have a very strong foundation already. Over the coming years, we will enhance both our global reach and suite of marvellous products. We will be focusing primarily on the American payments sector, whilst also leveraging our success in Europe with our Global Marketplace.
“The portfolio of business apps in our global marketplace is growing week-on-week.” Nelson HolznerCEO
European Business: How close are you to current trends in the start-up sector and how do start-ups impact AEVI’s daily business?
Nelson Holzner: We are proud to work very closely with an array of start-ups and innovators to get the most for users deploying our solution. The combination of the app and payment worlds is still a new concept, so we are very fortunate to be one of the first movers in the industry. Our development of Albert is a prime example of how start-ups impact our work. It is the first SmartPOS device of its type combining an open Android app space with secure payments. Software-wise, we are in a world where we deal with app developers who bring the innovation to our marketplace for the benefit of the merchants using the apps. There are so many great developers with even greater ideas, and we are proud to work with them. They are an inspiration to us and our development of innovation. Together with start-ups, we offer banks and acquirers the chance to differentiate themselves on more than just price. In turn, our solution can bring value to merchant transactions for any market segments from retail to health care and many more.
“Together with start-ups, we offer banks and acquirers the chance to differentiate themselves on more than just price.” Nelson HolznerCEO
European Business: Security is an increasingly important theme affecting global financial transactions. How do you win the trust of your clients?
Nelson Holzner: Security is at the core of AEVI’s solution. Security regulations are always evolving and we ensure compliance with regulations where applicable. We comply with the highest standards, always apply best practises and do not make compromises, even with our pace of development. AEVI was amongst the first parties who certified P2PE 2.0. We are spending a lot of time on security innovation, especially for the Marketplace where we’re bringing an open app world together with secure payments. We don’t do this alone and have a lot of strategic partners helping us. It is not only about PCI anymore, we need to look at data confidentiality and privacy of apps now as well. Our solutions are designed to give our customers full control over every aspect of their Marketplace estate.
European Business: You embrace the vision of an open, collaborative payments Ecosystem. What do you see the main challenges and how feasible is this as an ultimate goal, taking into account the heavy regulatory environment within the banking system?
Nelson Holzner: Of course, this is a very ambitious vision, and one that is quite revolutionary in the payments space. Payments and banking has traditionally been a very closed off sector, but with the introduction of the PSD2 legislation fast approaching in Europe, we will start to see the landscape becoming far more open, and collaboration between banks and Fintech companies becoming essential. The openness of our Marketplace is less about payments, however, and more about applications merchants use in their daily business to drive their sales. All these apps connect to the payment functionality in a similar way to any terminal in the market. Therefore, AEVI will be subject to the same payment security regulations as any other service provider in payments, and as a result topics such as PSD2 do not necessarily apply to our Marketplace. AEVI is constantly vetting app providers, and apps listed on the Marketplace, to give our acquirers and banks an assessment and assurances regarding the security of the apps. Our main challenge and commitment is to maintain the quality as the range of fantastic apps continues to grow.