Victoria’s Beanstream payments firm to become Bambora’s N.A. hub
By: Tony Wanless
A B.C. company has become the North American lead for a world-wide company shaking up the global online payments system.
Beanstream, which launched in 2000 to offer then-new online payments, enables businesses – from the smallest to the biggest – to receive and make payments online, in-store and in-app. It boasts the largest payment suite in an industry that grown with the explosion of web buying.
Founded by Victoria technology entrepreneur and former armed forces officer Craig Thomson, who left the company late last year, Beanstream has retained its name, despite being acquired multiple times by ever-larger companies. It has been private, then public and then private again.
It began with 20 employees and today has 70, and some 700 integrated partners who use its system.
Its main area of business has been in Canada and the U.S., starting as a facilitator of online donations to charity and payments to software providers, which meant it facilitated cross-border online commerce. As an early entry in a new field, it grew – at first by white labelling with established payment systems providers, and then by itself with the market, which today is threatening to unseat traditional payment methods.
Its newest owner, Bambora, has a vision to make it the centre of online payments processing for North America. It also expects a strong branding effort and robust sales process will lure tens of thousands of North American businesses to move from traditional bank-operated and paper-based payment systems.
So, in May, Beanstream will change its name to Bambora to reflect its new role as one of a group of four worldwide online payments facilitators. Bambora retained Beanstream’s name throughout the transition because it had a strong presence in Canada and the U.S, said Ryan Stewart, Beanstream’s chief commercial officer.
“Beanstream was one of the first gateway payments in Canada, and people couldn’t understand what we were doing, couldn’t believe we would last,” Stewart said. “We serve small-to-medium businesses and we are agnostic to systems so can work with most companies. And we have added services along the way: For example, three years ago, we started offering online applications for merchants – before they were done with paper, which was cumbersome. Now we have extended that to other areas.”
The company’s entrepreneurial outlook and methodology made it a good candidate for Bambora’s plans to “change the payments game,” Bambora CEO Johan Tjarnberg said in a phone interview from Sweden.
Bambora’s goal is to foster a “new world of commerce” that appeals to digital natives wanting online financial transactions rather than traditional bank or credit-card-based systems.
To that end, it has been rapidly assembling entrepreneurial payment-processing companies. Begun in Stockholm in 2015, it now processes over US$47 billion per year.
“Since we started with the purpose of changing the game, we identified Beanstream early,” Tjarnberg said. “We contacted them in 2014 and started talks the next year. We began integrating right away, but let the rebranding wait until now.”
Bambora’s rollout is moving at breakneck speed. Earning 200 million Euros last year, it already employs 700 people in seven countries and provides payment processing to some 100,000 merchants, with 3,000 added every month, and has 10,000 partnerships with banks.
“Last year was a big year for us,” Tjarnberg added. “Now we’re moving to leverage our positions in their markets, hoping to facilitate cross-border payments, and looking at getting into the mobile space.”
Read the full article here: http://business.financialpost.com/entrepreneur/growth-strategies/0424-biz-tw-wanless