Paya CEO Jeff Hack
By Jarrett Banks
Going to the doctor used to be a chore. But after Covid-19 changed everyone’s lives forever, the explosion of telemedicine and the digital payments that go with it has meant nothing less than a revolution for the healthcare industry. And that’s just one of the many industries that integrated payments company Paya is helping transform.
In an interview with IPO Edge, Paya Chief Executive Officer Jeff Hack said that as the Atlanta-based company continues to grow and evolve, he sees the adoption of digital payments accelerating. Paya plans to list on Nasdaq after merging with FinTech Acquisition Corp. III (NASDAQ: FTAC), a blank check company or SPAC that raised money to find a target. The newly-formed company will trade under the ticker “PAYA” after the deal closes. Private equity firm GTCR is the company’s largest shareholder. The full interview is below:
IPO Edge: Paya has been investing in technology and talent. Can you talk about how this is feeding into your growth plans?
The platform and team is built to scale beyond the $30 billion in payment volume we process today for over 100,000 customers. We can easily append incremental features and functionality to Paya Connect as we identify market needs without disrupting existing integrations. This allows us to stay ahead of the competition in our core verticals and to enter adjacent markets when we identify an opportunity. We’ve invested heavily in our talent and leadership, optimizing our already strong partner implementation and client support, accelerating technology and product roadmaps, and enhancing our sales organization to meet the needs of software companies.
IPO Edge: What changes did Paya witness in payments during the pandemic, and how has the “new normal” baseline changed since then? What does this indicate for the future of payments over 2020 into 2021?
From a people and operations perspective, we were able to quickly transition to complete work from home in mid-March without any degradation to service due in part to our cloud service infrastructure.
From a payments perspective, we’ve seen certain verticals thrive and others struggle across the industry, but Paya was well positioned to weather this type of shock to the system. 85 percent of our volume is card-not-present, which means only 15 percent occurs face-to-face. The pandemic has accelerated the shift away from cash and check to electronic payment methods in the verticals we serve, and it appears there is no turning back.
IPO Edge: Sage Payments was a very strong business in its own right. How have things changed since you became CEO?
Sage Payments was a very strong business, which is what attracted GTCR to it in the first place. Since I came on, we have invested in talent and technology, re-invigorated pre-existing partnerships and signed and integrated great new partners all while managing the business with extreme rigor.
IPO Edge: Could you talk about your integrated payments module, and how you differentiate from competitors?
This is an integrated payments company, that is what we do, it’s in our DNA. We partner with ISVs that integrate to Paya Connect because it delivers vertical specific functionality outside of simply accepting payments that they won’t find elsewhere, such as digital customer onboarding, auto-billing and recurring payments, e-Invoicing, flexible pricing structures, and a unified ACH & card acceptance experience.
IPO Edge: Software partner integrations are a key aspect of your go-to-market strategy – how do you build that partner network, and how sticky are those joint integrations?
Partners are the lifeblood of Paya. These are true partnerships that involve deep integrations between the software and the payments module, co-marketing to current and potential software customers, cross-training of sales teams, etc. These relationships are built to last and we help each other grow and adapt as the world evolves.
IPO Edge: You’ve been in the healthcare payments space for a while now. What are the signals of change you have seen since the pandemic, and how do you see future growth here?
The explosion of telemedicine, where digital transactions are the only option, in such a short time frame has been astounding. There has also been a shift away from anything involving touching a shared device in a doctor’s office whether that is cash, a check, a point-of-sale machine, or even a pen to sign in. We expect to see the payment of out-of-pocket healthcare costs, and bill payment in general across every industry, continue to move online.
IPO Edge: With the pace of expansion of digital payments only accelerating, how do you see this impacting the shape of the fintech segment in the next few years?
Digital payments are no longer a “nice to have” but a necessity for every type of business, and having those payments integrated into how you run your business is becoming essential. We will see the trend of digital integration across all financial products continue to accelerate.
IPO Edge: Why is now a good time for Paya to go public?
This is the right time in Paya’s evolution and maturity as a company. We are excited about the elevated profile and prepared for the additional attention that comes with being a public company. We are excited to tell the world about Paya and will use this event to support the continued growth of the company.