Scroll down to the end of this page to view the NACD November Event Post Event Wrap-up.
IS YOUR COMPANY READY FOR THE NEW DIGITAL CURRENCY?
A core function of any business is taking in and sending out payments. This value exchange has evolved over the years from a barter system to a cash system, and is now in the digital phase. Starting with wire transfers and credit cards, the digital phase is now migrating to a myriad of new options including digital wallets, prepaid cards, and cryptocurrencies.
Atlanta businesses stand at the forefront of disruption in the fintech space. Join us to hear from experts in this field about what’s new, what directors should be asking, and how companies who embrace these new methods will be more successful.
Panelists Lee Adrean, director of Fidelity National Information Services, acquirer of Worldpay Inc. and former CFO of Equifax, and Ashish Bahl, chairman and CEO of KyckGlobal, along with moderator Robin Bienfait, director for Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group and NACD Atlanta, spoke on the future of payments. The panel shared insights for boards:
Boards should consider the status of the company’s maturity in the area of payments, even if the company is not in the business of payments per se.
Think strategically about how the company receives payments and the customer experience in engaging with the company. Customers expect frictionless payments, ease of use, appropriate authorization, speed, and linkages to other services. While the company treasurer and CFO used to concern themselves with payments, now it is the CIO and CMO.
Regarding cryptocurrencies, there is a difference between bitcoin and other currencies, such as Ripple. Done correctly, use of some currencies can save money, especially for international transfers, and speed up money transfers to end users.
Banks are evolving, with branchless retail banking, more sophisticated consumer targeting, and a focus on the servicing of transactions they initiate. Disintermediation of banks happened in the 70s with the introduction of money market funds. Now disintermediation is happening in payments, because of banks’ capitalization requirements.
B2B is the fastest growing segment in payment processing. Areas of additional focus include government payments, healthcare, and education.
With so much technology on the horizon, the panel suggests that directors and leaders always bring the question about technology back to the business objective at hand. Payments, while not always top of mind for companies, should be a part of strategic discussions.
Ashish Bahl is currently the Chairman and CEO of KyckGlobal, a company he co-founded in 2018 with 2 additional payments executives. The Company recently completed an $8mm financing led by Tech Operators, LLC (An Atlanta, GA based venture capital fund). KyckGlobal provides an integrated set of payment options for the GIG-Economy workforce that includes same day ACH, push payments to bank issued debit cards, Paypal, cash, crypto-currency, and open/closed loop stored value cards.
During October of 2016, Mr. Bahl founded LogMatrix, a rapidly growing security monitoring company that utilizes machine learning and artificial intelligence. The company’s broad list of marquis clients include Visa, Paypal, DHL, Disney, and Sprint. The Company has grown to over $3mm in annual revenues and Mr. Bahl remains the majority shareholder.
From 2009 to 2017, Mr. Bahl was the founder and CEO of Acculynk, a rapidly growing alternative payments provider whose portfolio includes a variety of debit solutions for the global purchases of goods and services over the web and mobile channels. The company, which is nationally recognized for its innovation and the recipient of numerous achievement awards and patents, has attracted over $22mm in equity financing from Oak Investment Partners and Discover Corporation. Since 2009, Mr. Bahl led the company through international expansion, positioning versus the Durbin Amendment regulations, and the significant flux of authentication standards. The company was sold to First Data in March of 2017, where Mr. Bahl remained as an EVP for 6 months before assuming a more active role at LogMatrix.
From 2000 to 2006, Mr. Bahl was the Founder and CEO of Harbor Payments, Inc. until the company was purchased by American Express in 2006, when he became the Senior Vice President of the EReceivables Business unit. During his 7 year tenure at Harbor Payments, he created the largest eInvoicing industry participant and achieved a valuation in excess of $175mm at the time of sale. The Company grew from an idea to achieving more than $30mm in revenue during calendar year 2007. Harbor Payments was the recognized global leader in the emerging electronic invoicing industry, and rated as one of the fastest growing technology firms by Deloitte in 2005.
Mr. Bahl led the transition and integration of the American Express acquisition of Harbor Payments from 2007 to 2008, where the AMEX Commercial Card payment type was incorporated into Harbor Payments’ corporate solutions. The joint team consisted of over 400 employees across the US.
Prior to founding Harbor Payments, Inc. in 2000, Mr. Bahl was formerly at iXL where he was a Senior Vice President of iXL Ventures and the founder of iXL's Financial Services Practice Group (FSPG). The FSPG provided strategic and technology services to major financial institutions seeking to leverage the Internet for business advantage. Mr. Bahl grew the practice to the largest industry component within iXL, accounting for approximately 33% of the company’s revenue during 1998, the year of its IPO. At the time of the IPO, FSPG generated over $60mm in revenue, $15mm in EBITA and had over 300 employees
Prior to iXL, Mr. Bahl founded and served as the CEO of Exchange Place Solutions (EXPS), a firm focused on providing strategy and technology solutions to financial services institutions. Exchange Place Solutions was acquired by iXL in 1997 where it was the seed of the FSPG.
Mr. Bahl holds a B.S. in Mathematics and Electrical Engineering from Vanderbilt University and an MBA from Carnegie Mellon University. His civic responsibilities include Board positions in Leadership Atlanta, TechBridge, Fernbank Museum, and the Technology Association of Georgia (TAG). As a recognized industry expert in emerging electronic payments, Mr. Bahl is a frequent speaker at industry events.
Lee Adrean served as Chief Financial Officer of Equifax, Inc. in Atlanta for eight years up until his retirement in 2014. Over his career, he served as a public company Chief Financial Officer for a total of twenty years, in both Fortune 500 and mid cap companies, and in industries including transaction processing, information processing, internet services and financial services.
In addition to his CFO experience, Mr. Adrean served for two years as president of a life insurance company doing business across the southeast, leading a transformation of the business, and eleven years in strategy and general management consulting with Bain & Company, a global consulting firm.
Mr. Adrean currently serves on the boards of Worldpay Inc., a public company where he also serves as Chairman of the Audit and the Risk Committees (NOTE: As of July 31, Fidelity Nat’l Information Services, ticker FIS, is acquiring Worldpay; I will be going on the new FIS board; so by the Nov 13 luncheon, this should be represented as FIS), and Serta Simmons Bedding LLC, a private equity-owned company where he chairs the Audit Committee. He previously served on the board of West Corporation, a public company where he chaired the Nominating and Governance Committee up until the company’s sale to a private equity firm.
Mr. Adrean graduated from Bucknell University and holds an MBA from Harvard Business School. He also served on the Board of Trustees of Bucknell for ten years.
Robin Bienfait was the chief enterprise innovation officer and executive advisor for Samsung. She joined Samsung with 30 years of experience in mobility, security, business development, enterprise sales, wireless network operations, and engineering. As a global intrapreneur, she launched Samsung Business Services and advised on the B2B investment strategy. Prior to Samsung, Bienfait served as CIO for BlackBerry, where she led the enterprise business and software development team, product security, customer service, global network services, corporate security, and IT. Previously, her last role as an AT&T officer was leading global network services and chief compliance officer, environment, health, and safety. During her corporate years, she served on CISCO's strategic advisory board as well as HP's executive advisory councils. Now as CEO for Emnovate and a partner of Valor Ventures, Bienfait is advising and providing software solutions to emerging businesses through Atlanta Tech Park. She is on the board for Georgia Tech and the chairman for Global Aviation. Recently, she accepted an independent director role for MUFG and two Power Financials boards: GWLC and Putnam investments.
Bienfait holds a bachelor's degree in Engineering from Central Missouri State University and is a graduate of the Georgia Institute of Technology with a master's degree in Management of Technology. A global influencer holding 15 patents, she is the recipient of several awards and was recently named as one of the top 100 CIOs in STEM.