WePay has hired digital payments expert Steven Pellizzer to serve as CFO as the company strengthens its international ambitions.
Pellizzer's previous work in payments includes a nine-year stint as CFO of CyberSource, a provider of electronic payment and risk management products for online merchant that was acquired by Visa in 2010. After leaving CyberSource in 2011, he was CFO of eWise from 2012 to 2014.
"I worked on risk strategies at CyberSource, which would allow me to work with [WePay vice president of risk management] John Canfield on risk matters," Pellizzer says. "Given the size of the company as I come on board, it's a small business, so it's about how to scale with payments and build out to serve larger companies."
A major part of this expansion strategy is supporting new markets worldwide.
"We have plans to look overseas so we can support merchants that want to go overseas as well, to locate customers in different markets who want to buy their products," Pellizzer says.
WePay, which earlier this year received a $15 million investment from Phil Purcell's Continental Investors, has been shifting from its earlier model of enabling group payments among individuals toward an approach that focuses on providing payments processing for digital marketplaces, crowdfunding sites and small-business software providers. WePay has seen adoption of the application programming interface (API) that its clients use to build payments interfaces, and the company hopes a flow of international transactions will further growth.
Many of the online marketplaces, which serve smaller merchants that sell products and services, operate or plan to operate in different countries. As such, they require services such as currency conversion and localized risk management.
"If our users want to be able to reach merchants in other countries, we need to be able to support those payments," Pellizzer says.
That will include establishing operations in other markets, either directly through a presence on the ground, or via partnerships with local payment companies. Powa, another company that provides digital payments processing and merchant services, recently purchased the Hong Kong-based MPayMe to expedite its move into China and other Asian markets.
"There needs to be an understanding of the local markets; stuff like cards are common in some markets but not others," Pellizzer says, adding WePay is considering a range of options to bolster its ability to serve users worldwide.
WePay has already developed technology that can appeal to a wider range of international merchants and online marketplaces, Pellizzer says. WePay has recently added new technology to its API and its social media-driven risk engine Veda to add flexibility.
WePay recently added an API to Veda to allow users to stitch together different data sources such as behavior patterns, customized user data from platforms, data from WePay's own transactional graph and social data from sources such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Yelp to produce a risk score for customers. WePay's use of social networking should help it provide risk management for different markets, Pellizzer says.
"Facebook is pretty transferrable," he says. "It's used in a lot of places, so it should be helpful in our efforts to provide services in other countries."