i2c Gets Face-to-Face in Europe with U.K. Office
By Bill Grabarek, Senior Editor
i2c Inc. is bolstering its European business by putting “people on the ground” and opening a London office. The processor also announced today the appointment of financial services veteran Stephen Grice as general manager, Europe, to head up operations in the region.
“European clients want presence,” says Grice, who previously served as head of prepaid U.K. and Ireland at MasterCard, and product and marketing director for Citigroup Global Cards. “Yes, we can do a lot of things remotely, but face-to-face relationships are important to building confidence and trust. Having people on the ground in the European market is good for the business.”
Last July, i2c opened a regional office in Singapore to address the growing market for prepaid products and mobile financial services in the Asia-Pacific region. The company also has offices in Dubai and Lahore, in addition to its headquarters in Silicon Valley.
|“Yes, we can do a lot of things remotely, but face-to-face relationships are important to building confidence and trust … And, we bring to our core U.S. base the ability to reach markets in Europe and Asia.”—Stephen Grice, i2c Inc.|
Grice tells Paybefore there are many opportunities for i2c to expand in Europe, including government, B2B, corporate and money transfer, among other verticals. i2c already serves clients in Europe with its Paybefore Award-winning My Card Platform, offering a range of services from payroll to settlement and billing to traditional prepaid program management.
But, it’s not only European companies that can benefit from i2c’s presence in Europe. “We bring to our core U.S. base the ability to reach markets in Europe and Asia,” Grice adds.
For clients eyeing new markets, i2c is promoting its single platform, which it says can speed time to market compared with legacy platforms that must be integrated or sometimes adjusted to do things for which they weren’t intended, such as support newer applications, like mobile or e-commerce.
“i2c’s single platform and unique configurable approach enable card portfolio managers to make immediate changes to their programs,” says Marc Winitz, i2c chief marketing officer. “This provides our customers a large degree of control regarding the capabilities they wish to deploy and can do so rapidly and very cost efficiently.” The company’s SaaS-based model also enables the processor to continually update its platform with major releases monthly, which Winitz calls unprecedented.
The initial focus of i2c’s London office will be expanding its business in the U.K., which serves as a launch pad for e-money issuers launching their products to other countries in Europe, Grice says. But, the company is looking at the entire continent. “Naturally, you look to where the volume is and a large proportion of the volume originates in the U.K., but not all of it,” Grice says. “Italy is a very large player, and there’s significant e-payments acceptance and new technology in Central and Eastern Europe, and lots of cash is used in the Nordics.”
What does the future look like for Grice? Lots of travel—but from his London-based office, “I can get to 31 countries in no more than four hours, give or take,” he says.
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