Paytrail: Finnish growth company developed product for international market
"I believe that we'll break through internationally next year," says Lennu Keinänen, one of Paytrail's two founders. Earlier known as Suomen Verkkomaksut, the company has already been successful in Finland with its payment service for online stores.
A domestic breakthrough became possible when the founders identified a clear need in the market. Keinänen's previous company supplied and installed software for online stores.
"Customers began to ask us about the checkout side of things," recalls Keinänen.
It was difficult to start an online store because contracts had to be made with several banks, credit card companies and other companies providing individual payment methods.
The online merchant incurred expenses before the store even began operating.
The former Suomen Verkkomaksut service made it easier for the customer to arrange payment traffic for online shopping.
Last year, Paytrail had a turnover of approximately EUR 5 million. About 50% of Finland's online stores use the Paytrail payment service.
International growth is a must
However, in 2010 Keinänen and the rest of the Paytrail team understood that the company had to look outside Finland if it wanted to continue growing at the same pace. The old product was only suitable for export in a rather limited market.
"We realised that we had the wrong name and our product wasn't the best fit for an international market," says Lennu Keinänen.
The company also wanted to help Finnish corporate customers internationalise by means of payment opportunities.
Paytrail applied for Tekes' funding for young innovative companies, and then developed the new product as a Tekes project. Prior to building the product, Paytrail talked with partners and online payment experts in order to ensure that there was genuine demand for the product.
Private money for internationalisation
The company began to develop its new idea on the basis of two observations.
"Smart phones were becoming more commonplace at that time and customers wanted a solution for this situation," explains Keinänen.
At the same time, shoppers were becoming frustrated with logging in to online stores and repeatedly entering the same information.
The solution to this is a Paytrail account, which allows online shoppers to pay for their purchases easily and conveniently once they have created an account. A single ID can be used to confirm purchases in all online stores offering the service, and the possibilities for abusing the system have been eliminated.
Services that link consumers and companies usually have one problem: consumers don't begin using the system if it isn't widely available. And companies don't want to invest before the service has gained sufficient mass.
In this sense, Paytrail has an advantage because the company don't have to start from nothing.
"The fact that we already have the other half of the business helps us in this 'chicken and egg' situation. The sellers are already our customers."
There is faith in Paytrail, as demonstrated when the company announced a new financing round in January. Earlier growth was mainly based on internal financing, but now the company collected more than EUR 800,000 of financing for internationalisation.
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lennu.keinanen (at) paytrail.com