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Behind Rapyd’s global ambitions and recent move into Brazil with Eric Rosenthal

  • Rapyd's Eric Rosenthal made the jump into fintech after working for incumbent financial institutions.
  • He's worked all over the world and is helping the payments infrastructure company expand throughout the Americas.
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Behind Rapyd’s global ambitions and recent move into Brazil with Eric Rosenthal

If you’re a retailer or a new challenger bank, it just doesn’t make sense anymore to build out payments infrastructure when you have firms like Rapyd out there.

Eric Rosenthal, Rapyd’s managing director of the Americas, joins us on the podcast to talk about the hot fintech as a service firm that has gone global from its very start. The company just launched into Brazil and Eric describes the company’s global strategy and how Brazil plays into that. We talk about who’s integrating payments and where the market is headed.

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The following excerpts were edited for clarity.

Moving from incumbents into fintech

My personal motivation to join Rapyd was that I wanted to have significant impact on a business. I joined two years into Rapyd’s existence and that gave me significant influence on the path we would take. Through my own experience, I realized that the world was searching for a platform on which to build upon. When I was at First Data, I was part of the team that was bringing to life Apple Pay and working with Apple. The world was headed in a direction where brands were going to build on top of platforms and continue to want to own their customer.

At Abra, one of the first blockchain companies to be backed by a large incumbent (American Express), I discovered a vast amount of interest was focused on large companies wanting to take our technology and use it for their own purposes. Bringing those two factors together, Rapyd understood that there was more value in offering a platform to others. Stars aligned that there was an opportunity and the founding team was pivoting from B2C to B2B when I met them.

I’ve worked in Spain, Peru, Mexico, El Salvador, China and Singapore. It’s rare that a company is so ambitious to say that it’s going to build a global platform.

Rapyd’s platform

We’ve built a global fintech-as-a-service platform with four products. Rapyd Collect allows companies to collect payment across 100 different countries using e-wallets, cash, bank transfers, and cards. Rapyd Disburse allows companies to disburse payments across 170 countries to bank accounts, cash pickup locations, push to card, and e-wallets. Issuing allows companies to issue cards through a single integration across 40 countries. Lastly, Rapyd e-wallet is essentially a white label PayPal. Underpinning all these products are treasury, reconciliation, and compliance engines that make it all possible.

Customer base

Companies come to us wanting to do multiple things, like disburse and collect. They’re trying to solve what would otherwise would be very complex use cases. Rapyd got started by serving large scale enterprises. Uber is a client — you can think of the complexity of their business from a payments perspective. How does Uber collect and disburse payments across 60 different countries? How does the company optimize treasure operations?

This profile of client exists across multiple industries, verticals, and different size companies. I’m a lender that needs to collect and disburse payments. I’m a challenger bank that grew in one country and wants to expand into another country. It’s difficult to find a BIN sponsor, a program manager and a load network so you can get funds into the system.

We just began to deploy self-onboarding. This helps us service a new set of merchants to quickly self serve as they get onboarded. There aren’t a lot of options for these smaller companies companies.

Brazilian market

Brazil is nearly as large as the U.S. in terms of total population. It has significant cross border commerce and an in-country venture and technology sector. There’s a fragmented and diverse payments ecosystem. There are also lots of underbanked and unbanked people. We’re also seeing European, Asian and American companies go to Brazil to establish a foothold in Latin America.

Launching into new countries

When we move into a new country, we’ll generally at least launch with two products. After that, we’ll weave in other products. That’s because we work through what we call a network of network, or partner, model. Through that model, we find that our clients don’t have to deal with the complexities of having to interact with multiple entities. We do that.

In the case of Brazil, we announced a partnership with two companies (out of eight that we work with) in order to offer a full stack solution. We look for an opportunity and whether there is a client asking us to go into a new market and what’s the capability they’re looking for in that market. We’ve been working on launching into Brazil for a year and a half.

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