Interview: Kyle Ferguson, Fraedom’s CEO – on the road to Fraedom
Payments technology and expense management specialist Fraedom is on the journey to tap into the $110 trillion B2B market opportunity that remains untapped today. “If the technology is both powerful and intuitive, people will use it,” states Kyle Ferguson, Fraedom’s CEO.
Fraedom has been in the market (in various guises) since 2000. What has been the company’s journey to date and its major milestones?
Fraedom was founded over 15 years ago as a technology start-up incubated within Deloitte. The business started out as “myPcard” – providing oversight of purchasing card expenditure through a web-based platform – as the large ERP systems that Deloitte was implementing proved far too costly for high-volume, low-dollar value transactions.
Today, 155,000+ businesses across 178 countries are benefitting from Fradeom’s technology.
We are also now owned by the Hogg Robinson Group, so not just your average fintech.
What are the most interesting trends you see in the market today and how do you align your business with them?
There are three that I’d like to highlight. Firstly, virtual cards. We are now looking at how we can further integrate them into our payments platform.
Secondly, the extensive changes and consumerisation of technology that is taking place in the banking sector, and particularly those that are being driven by a retail banking experience that is consumer-focused. This digitisation is key and it’s where our banking partners see a real value-add from our services. More and more banks are borrowing retail banking experience to build out their commercial and business card strategies.
Lastly – and most importantly – is the cloud. APIs and plug-ins are becoming increasingly available, enabling companies like Fraedom to tap into other non-core technologies such as Uber, receipt scanning and card payment processing (e.g. Visa, MasterCard and Amex) to create a better user experience. Again, the aim is to deliver a more consumer-like experience in a corporate/business context.
What is Fraedom’s sweet spot?
You’d be surprised at how many banks out there don’t provide their commercial card customers with the basic ability to view statements online or manage their card programmes – this is where Fraedom comes in, as our tech can be delivered directly or white-labelled.
We have over 250 developers working in the UK and New Zealand, and effectively, when you buy into Fraedom, you’re buying into our development roadmap.
We help banks make commercial cards the payment tool of choice, i.e. unlock the true value of card payments to their customers, be that through online statements and card management, automated invoice payment, virtual card solutions or advanced reporting.
Our customer feedback suggests an up to a 25% increase in spending on commercial cards with Fraedom’s tools.
What makes you stand out from the competition?
I’d say it’s our credibility as a true fintech company, backed by a global PLC. Whilst there are new players emerging every week, Fraedom has been successfully delivering technology and payments solutions to banks across the globe for over 15 years.
Our flexibility as a business is also critical. We’re nimble enough to be able to react to new developments and technologies, but large enough to hold our own and compete with organisations much larger than we are.
Lastly, we can truthfully claim to offer a truly global solution and have offices – and real people! – in the UK, US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and Hong Kong.
What is awaiting Fraedom on its fintech journey? What are your strategy and plans moving forwards?
I believe banks need to offer more benefits to their commercial customers than just financial rebates. Commercial spending presents a massive growth opportunity (while retail payment revenues are under increasing pressure from regulation).
Securing and retaining commercial customers is now not just a priority, it’s a necessity. Fraedom is uniquely positioned in this space – our value-add technology provides banks with a competitive edge and we can deliver the insight their commercial customers need to grow their business. And as growth drives more spend onto commercial cards, it’s a win-win for both the banks and their customers.
In the next year, we’ll further refine and develop our payments offering for our banking and corporate customers. For example, enabling “frictionless” payments to any supplier at any time, using the technology to predict the most efficient ways for businesses to manage their AP function, where we believe commercial cards – virtual or plastic – will pave the way.
This interview is also featured in our flagship Banking Technology magazine, the October 2016 edition. Read it here.