This is the second part of the story. You can find chapter one by clicking here.
A phoenix rising: WadzPay
Human beings value their ability to overcome adversity and learn from their mistakes. In August 2020, Anish Jain created a deep-dive analysis about what had caused WadzPay to join the 90%-startup-failure club and got together a new game plan to bring his vision to life. Starting a new, Jain rallied together a strong and experienced team consisting of Steve Tunstall, a compliance master; Matt Winstanley, a sales genius; Simon Connolly, a technology whiz and Stas Madorski, a marketing innovator and self-confessed blockchain geek. Thus, WadzPay was born.
Steve Tunstall, director and group head of compliance and risk, joined the company after meeting Jain because he “Was impressed by Jain’s stellar career at Mastercard but also by his vision for an inclusive and highly efficient ecosystem that would be beneficial at all levels of society. I’ve worked in the risk and compliance space for much of my career. In his discussions with me, Jain has always been committed to working within current and future regulated frameworks. In my view, this approach is critically important to ensure that WadzPay solutions can work smoothly to connect and integrate the existing world of fiat financial services with the great leap forward offered by blockchain technology.”
The fourth quarter of 2020 involved a number of goals: 1) reinvent the business model into a sustainable and scalable one; and 2) pay off all WadzPay debts.
Seeing that Jain was back in business sparked a chain of events that might as well have been part of the plot for a hit Netflix series. An individual affected by WadzPay’s failure tried to blackmail the CEO for a hefty sum of money, threatening to leak credit reports and bank statements: This affected Anish deeply as it would any human being. However, Anish was comfortable with the documents being shared, given he knew that the bank statements showed no irregularities and an individual’s personal finances do not correlate with the potential success of a breakthrough business idea. The harassment, however, increased to the extent that a report was lodged with the Singapore Police Force and the individual in question became subject to an active police investigation.
A major lesson from WadzPay’s days was that a business model focusing on consumer acquisition via an app and building a large merchant network could not be sustainable, especially given the excessive cost per acquisition. Playing in the consumer digital currency wallets space was also cluttered and would lead to a lack of a point of difference compared to the competition. The team decided to scrap some of the previous discussions with all merchant partners from the WadzPay days, many of which were at the letter-of-intent or memorandum of undertaking (MOU) stages.
The only relics from WadzPay that remained were some technological partnerships, such as with Uppsala Security, with which an MOU was signed to allow WadzPay to revisit it, should its service offerings be of interest to future partners.
After launching a beta version of a consumer-facing app, WadzPay made a big decision in the first quarter of 2021 to fully pivot away from the prior business-to-consumer model in favor of a business-to-business approach, aiming to be a technological and solution provider for governments, banks, financial institutions, processors, and small- and medium-sized enterprises — particularly those with existing consumer and merchant networks. This was a crucial decision, as it eliminated the cost per acquisition and allowed the company to deliver services and products around its core expertise. “Refocus and scale ” became a mantra for the team. Instead of herotizing a business-to-consumer app, the previous strategy changed, instead herotizing the WadzPay Atlytica-powered ecosystem, where the app primarily became a white-label product bespoke to individual client needs.
WadzPay became the proverbial belle of the ball with this refined focus: The team was constantly talking to senior management in large corporations as well as governments; the idea of marrying the world of legacy payments with the upcoming world of blockchain was seen as innovative and with the team’s expertise, WadzPay was positioned as the leader to achieve this vision.
Partnerships and thought leadership
The team quickly secured business amongst the likes of Tokoin, CoinPasar, XinFin, LedgerFi and Frontera throughout the year. A huge win was with Asian Betting and Gaming Enterprise and Dafabet to provide a payments solution that is now live with premium category customers in India, with expansion to two additional markets coming soon.
With Jain’s experience from Mastercard, there was a solid push for hiring other senior talents from ex-Mastercard leadership to service acquirers and other businesses part-owned or partnered with Mastercard and Visa, for which WadzPay is conducting Proof of Concept (POC).
WadzPay started to become a thought leader in the industry, invited to speak at multiple fintech events worldwide. The fintech world wanted to know the knowledge that WadzPay had to share.
This is the second part of the story. You can find chapter three by clicking here.