Payments, Podcasts

WePay’s Tina Hsiao: ‘We’re still able to innovate but with the breadth, scale, and mission of JPM Chase’

  • Chase acquired integrated payments firm WePay in 2017.
  • Since then, WePay has grown its team, product set, and distribution.
WePay’s Tina Hsiao: ‘We’re still able to innovate but with the breadth, scale, and mission of JPM Chase’

As an integrated payments provider for platforms, WePay works with software firms like FreshBooks and BigCommerce to help small businesses get paid and paid faster. Today’s guest on the podcast is Tina Hsiao, the firm’s chief operating officer. In her seven years with the company, she’s worn a variety of hats in building and growing WePay.

The payments firm was acquired by JPMorgan Chase in 2017. Tina describes how the acquisition has evolved and how the two firms work together and collaborate. WePay is ramping its customers and scaling its people and Tina discusses how the firm has found a way to leverage Chase’s resources while remaining nimble and innovative.

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The following excerpts were edited for clarity.

How I came to WePay from Intuit

Prior to WePay, I was at Intuit for over 11 years, fully focused on small businesses. I was mostly in marketing but in product management as well. Then WePay came calling and I was hired as the VP of Marketing. There were only around 40 people at the time. The CEO jokes sometimes that I was the first adult he hired.

One of the things that interested me about WePay was the co-founders and what they were trying to build. They had a passion for their customers and wanted to do something different. At Intuit, I was in the payments division at the end of my stint there. We had looked to WePay and their seamless user experience as an example of how to do things differently — as an example of where we could be going.

At first, I wasn’t sure about the business model, but I was sure that what they could build — and build with me — would thrive. We’ve changed our business model over the years, moving away from working directly with small businesses towards partners. And now with Chase, we’re going direct again.

WePay’s integrated offering

Let’s think about small businesses. There are a ton of small businesses in the US, they’re growing, and they use lots of software to power their businesses — like invoicing, accounting, or for customer acquisition. We’ve found that a lot of SMBs rely on the software platforms to help them grow. That positions the software platforms well to offer integrated payments into their experience to get more revenue and get SMBs paid faster.

WePay underpins all this through our APIs, so software platforms can integrate payments into their systems without risk, compliance and regulatory hassle. We handle that. For many of our platform partners, we are the default or only payment option. Sometimes, it’s a cobranded offering. Freshbooks, for example, calls it ‘Freshbooks Payments, powered by WePay’. I think a lot of our platform partners come to us because we work flexibly around the user experience they want to create.

Being acquired by Chase

We closed the acquisition in December of 2017. We really fit a piece in Chase’s product set. They hadn’t been working through partners. Secondly, we had technology talent and innovation that Chase is investing in. Chase has kept everyone. We’re thriving and they made a large investment in us, growing our team and developing new products. We’re now innovating together.

The integration has been going surprisingly well. This was Chase’s first big fintech acquisition in over a decade and they were sensitive not to crush us. They’re almost 250,000 employees and at acquisition, we were close to 300. They built a wall around us during the acquisition, lead by the integration team of hand picked, long time employees willing to defy general norms. Our acquisition been successful because senior leadership has been supportive, encouraging us to help them be different. They’ve very much tried to preserve the culture and innovation.

We’re definitely benefiting from the fact that Chase is a massive company with a lot of products and services and great distribution. They’ve brought us a lot of new customers. And now, we’re starting to partner to help WePay’s clients get access to the great products and services Chase offers.

Talent building and retention post acquisition

It’s been a really good integration. We were very thoughtful about every decision regarding tools, technology, HR, people and talent. It was all done in the context of preserving that culture of innovation.

There’s a different value proposition if you’re a standalone startup versus a nimble part of a very large organization. I actually think our close rate on candidates has gone up and our caliber of candidates stayed consistent. We have a rigorous recruiting process, especially around engineering talent. The candidates have recognized that we’re still able to innovate in a small company but with the breadth, scale, and mission of this big organization. They’re excited to be able to make change as a result of JPMC’s great scale, but they still feel like they can touch everything in a small company. We’ve kept competitive in terms of comp. We’ve gotten the best of both worlds.

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