Leonard Shenker attributes that combining his industry experience in the payment space with the software and gaming experience of his partner Dan Wagner has been one of the cornerstones of Walletdoc’s success.
He contends that “Building the right team is what matters”.
Between him and Wagner, they have merged their disciplines to create a mobile payment platform that makes “paying bills an enjoyable experience”.
Leonard Shenker speaks highly of Wagner whose passion for software development and extensive level of expertise he credits as one of the keys to their success.
The Johannesburg based startup is to bill payers what Uber is to its riders. It has taken a task that has always been a thankless and frustrating process and not only made it a comfortable and convenient procedure but a transactional process where all parties benefit from the platform.
A “secure, web and mobile based, bill payment platform”, the mobile payment system notifies its users when creditors forward bills, reminds them when specific bills are due and allows its users, to pay multiple bills in a single transaction.
Now gone are those days, the platform takes the hassle out of the consumers’ hands and makes it a profitable venture for billers as they are guaranteed timely payment collection as well as increased cash flow. Walletdoc references every payment made by a consumer eliminating the hassle of EFT payment complications.
This certainly eases the burden of waiting for utility bills and paying each one individually. However, the unique selling point that will undoubtedly attract millennials is the idea of a hassle-free experience, needing nothing more than a few swipes to pay your bills. In addition to the effortless experience, Walletdoc also offers its users the opportunity to earn back rewards through timeous payments and credit card use.
With partnerships claimed to reach over 400 of South Africa’s top billers, the platform promises its users that they never have to leave their house and have the drawn-out experience of queuing to pay another bill again. Walletdoc represents some of South Africa’s most widely used billers such as Eskom, local municipalities and the SABC amongst others, through these partnerships, they can serve a considerable slice of the South African market.
Nevertheless, a significant key to their success is the funding process that the two-year-old startup undertook. The partners began the venture inherently as a self-funded project but quickly attracted a first round of investment. They structured this capital injection such that they could develop their software and give themselves sufficient time to scale up and attract billers and users.
How did they get billers?
Shenker emphasises that their two-pronged strategy to partner with EasyPay in conjunction with their software algorithms is what gives them the edge in the mobile payment industry. As South Africa’s largest bill aggregator, EasyPay gave Walletdoc access to billers across-the-board. What did EasyPay get in return? The relationship was mutually beneficial in that EasyPay received commercial exposure as well as access to newly developed technology from Walletdoc.
The second strategy was to develop software that provided a disruptive solution without having the consumer pay for it. Additionally, the software integrates well with consumers that are not on the platform. This, Shenker remarks as being one of their “significant differentiators” from mobile payment competitors such as Zapper & SnapScan.
He recognises the overlap in their services seeing that they all maintain a focus on bill payments. However, the likes of Zapper focus on POS services, while Walletdoc’s primary focus is bringing convenience, bill presentment and payment solutions to customers on their mobile phone. Their bill presentment and payment solutions are certainly unique to the south African mobile payment industry with “nine in 10 South Africans owning a mobile phone and a third of those being smartphones”, according to the Sage Pay 2017 Payments Landscape Report.
Data from the Ovum Global payments Insight Survey also suggests that the evolution of online billing makes player early front-runners in what is going to be a tech marathon. According to the report, cheque and cash acceptance has declined by 3% and 25% respectively among surveyed respondents between 2015 And 2016. While acceptance of newer digital and online channels increased by 14% and reached 54% of the global organisation by the end of 2016.
42% of the organisation surveyed said that their YoY cost of processing payments had increased in 2016 whereas 40% of the respondents said the same in 2015. Furthermore, billers have relief in their cost of processing payments and make a case for growth of such platforms stronger.
To that effect, they also factor in unsubscribed users. By leveraging their relationship with billers, Walletdoc allows billers to send their bills electronically through their platform and even if you are not signed up to the mobile app, you can still make use of their services. This strategy significantly differentiates them from their competitors in that a user would need to have the Zapper or SnapScan app to scan the QR Code when paying a bill.
Shenker envisions Walletoc as a significant player in the South African Fintech space. However, a move beyond South Africa’s borders would not only prove their scalability but serve as a signal of intent to players like M-Pesa.
To this end, the Co-Founder signals his intent to conquer more “mature geographies” akin to South Africa when it comes to processing bill payments. Whereas mobile payment giants M-Pesa focus on making mobile payments accessible to low-end consumers, Walletdoc’s technology would thrive in an environment with higher smartphone penetration and developed digital financial infrastructure.
Partnering with ABSA in addition to EasyPay was a strategic decision that not only gave them the seal of approval from a financial services provider but now might be their gateway to the rest of the African continent.
Having “processed billions of Rands” since their launch in 2016, this startup guarantees the security of its customers’ transactional information and their partnership with ABSA is a seal of approval for their robust infrastructure. The partnership with ABSA is also a clear indication of the banking sector’s desire to partner with innovative entrepreneurs adding the agility that they so often lack.
Dan Wagner and Leonard Shenker
Despite the mutually beneficial relationship with the banking giant, Walletdoc remains a bank agnostic platform able to integrate with users with any bank card. Furthermore, they accept Visa, Mastercard, Diners Club, and recently American Express which all allow the user to earn card rewards.
By providing users with a convenient service that translates into an easy transactional experience making “the payment process as enjoyable as possible”, Walletdoc has secured more than 100, 000 Android downloads, not to mention iOS, as well as non-registered users who still use the platform.
With the prospect of adding DSTV, to their list of billers, the platform expects to grow exponentially in the coming months. So, perhaps in the near future, the fintech world will whisper the name Walletdoc exposing the vibrant startup eco-system South Africa has to offer.
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