As the head of a company that prides itself on innovation in the marketplace, Bill Clerico knows his team has to keep striving to meet the needs of customers. The company’s CEO and co-founder says the way to compete with companies like PayPal and Braintree and startups like Stripe is to be really good at providing a total user experience for businesses, and you have to be innovative in how you do it.
WePay’s payment application programming interface (API) focuses on platform businesses such as crowdfunding sites, marketplaces and smaller business software. The online payment service provider was founded in 2008 in Boston by Clerico and Rich Aberman, who is COO of the company, now based in Palo Alto.
What does Clerico see as driving innovation?
“Just the act of moving money around is actually pretty commoditized, so most of the innovations revolve around that process,” he says.
“To be really good at risk management means that you can pay people faster and you can do it with less fraud losses. An example of that is, say, from an invoicing software platform, a company may want to charge a buyer to pay a merchant. If they don’t have good risk management tools, they can suffer a lot of losses in that process due to fraud.
“The way that they’ll combat that is they’ll slow the process down,” Clerico says. “They’ll say, ‘OK, we’ll charge this buyer, but we’re not going to pay the seller until a week later or five business days later.’ I believe that a lot of the innovation comes from fraud and risk management incidents.”
But to keep coming up with innovative ideas, the process starts with the company culture.
“I think you have to encourage risk-taking. One of our core values is that you have to invest in relationships. Having strong relationships means that you can trust each other to take risks and give each other some room to maintain an element of trust.”
Once the ideas are born, it’s critical to rank them in priority.
“We have teams in our company who talk through different ideas and projects that you want to have, and then we try to overlay that with customer insight,” Clerico says. “What do they want? What is going to help them be successful? Knowing the customer starts with customer insights is the key in the whole prioritization process.”
Staying ahead of the competition is always on the front burner.
“If you know the customer better than anyone else, I believe you’re ahead of the curve,” Clerico said. “If you have a deep knowledge of technology and a deep knowledge of the customer, I believe you’ll always have the best product on the market. The company that knows the customer best and knows the technology best, wins,” Clerico says. “It’s kind of a simple formula, but it’s worked pretty well for us so far.”
How to reach: WePay Inc., (855) 469-3729 or www.wepay.com