Daniel Lavecky spotted a gap in the market for internet-based financial and payment solutions for banks.
After realising Pure Commerce was too small for Australian banks he expanded to Asia and now has 65 staff globally with offices in Sydney, Seoul, Singapore, Zurich, London and Auckland and a turnover of $15 million last year.
The Sydney-based payments company has now been bought by US-based payments giant Euronet Worldwide.
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Pure Commerce signed the deal with Euronet last week, after almost five months of exclusive talks but Lavecky declined to reveal the price paid.
Founder and chief executive: Pure Commerce
I noticed that there weren’t very many internet-related products, either for business or internally, for the use of the bank when I was an intern at the Commonwealth Bank.
One comment when I spoke to a manager there was, “Why would anyone want to buy shares over the internet?” So that gave me a feeling that banks in general didn’t really appreciate the power of the internet.
Our model uses the internet in the same way that Hotmail was one of the first ones to deliver email free of charge globally.
We’re very lean, very nimble, very flexible, and that’s because as an entrepreneur, you have to be.
Our model is to create very complex, very large applications, which we hosted and provided to the banks completely free of charge. We charge for usage.
We deliver the feeling of comfort and of security, delivering services across the internet. That was critical to the growth of the business.
The growth of Asia has just been tremendous. With Asia, we’ve found that the banks were very open to new products because they wanted to deliver in retail, within commercial, within their enterprise groups.
We have a very scalable model so we’ve invested a tremendous amount of money over the years in building our financial technologies that we scale and sell to banks across Asia Pacific.
In Asia, it’s a very different style of marketing. It’s not about how much money you can spend on the top line. It’s about relationships, and it’s about trust.
It’s not about getting off a plane, briefcase in hand, and having meetings, because you’ll get nowhere. The way to be successful in Asia is about having great relationships, where there’s a level of trust.
In Asia it’s all about, “Am I friends with you first? Then I’ll do business with you,” as opposed to, “I’ll do business with you, then I’ll develop a friendship relationship with you.” It’s completely different.
As chief executive I’m looking at pipeline growth. I’m looking at revenues: are we on target? I’m looking at expenses to make sure that we’re in line with our budgets, and I’m also looking at key goals that we’ve set on a yearly basis.
There is a tectonic shift in labour markets, and I say that to all Australians, that concept of distance has become irrelevant. When I live in Singapore and I want to show my parents my children, they can have a Skype call.
The concept of distance will become even less important in the coming years as we start to get the national broadband network, and 4G on mobile phones becomes even more prevalent.
The jobs are moving over into low cost countries, and they’re not coming back. In the next four years there will be a tremendous shift of offshoring of white collar jobs and we’re already seeing it in the technology industry.
Australians need to consider the world as their true market, and that labour needs to consider that they are now facing challenges on a global basis, and they’re competing for roles on a global basis.