Australian FinTech company profile #54 – Assembly Payments
1. Company Name:
3. Key Staff & Titles:
Simon Lee / Cofounder & Co-CEO
Simon Jones / Cofounder & CTO
Darren McMurtrie / Cofounder & CMO
Victor Zheng / Co-CEO
Sigal Pilli / COO
May Lam / CIO
Melbourne, Sydney, Manila (Philippines)
5. In one sentence, what does your fintech do?:
Assembly Payments’ multi channel capability provides a unified way to accept payments online and instore, helping businesses pay and get paid, quickly and seamlessly.
6. How / why did you start your fintech company?:
Assembly was founded in 2013 by three entrepreneurs, each having different sized businesses, and all having less-than-perfect experiences getting paid.
The payments systems at the time had not kept up with the way they, or most people, do business online, on mobile, or in-store. Commerce was complex, confusing, and not flexible enough to adapt to their business needs.
Armed with this belief that cash, plastic and clunky payment terminals are either dead, or are disappearing, they set out to provide simple, unified commerce through any channel.
By offering a way to accept and disburse payments via any channel, Assembly gives businesses the building blocks to compete, scale and thrive in an increasingly complex world.
7. What is the best thing your company has achieved or learnt along the way (this can include awards, capital raising etc)?:
Whilst there’s been many achievements and lessons along the way, one thing that stands out has been our ability to hire 67 people in one year. Compared to large scale and global brands, Assembly is relatively unknown, and Australia has a shortage of talent, so hiring is difficult. In terms of value, we provide great opportunities, but people didn’t know us, we didn’t have a strong external presence. Luckily we have a passionate team who know what they want, and who they’re looking for. Currently, 75% of our new hires come through direct placements from our own networks, which is pretty amazing.
8. What’s some advice you’d give to an aspiring start-up?:
Be willing to embrace change as it will be a constant in your business. Your customers, industry, and market will all change as you go from a startup to scaling into a fully mature business. Get comfortable with the fact that this will happen and don’t be too rigid, too stubborn, to adapt along with it.
9. What’s next for your company? And are you looking to expand overseas or stay focussed on Australia?:
We’ll continue to grow in Australia, as the momentum we have here is ramping in the right direction, but our key focus over the next two to three years is to expand overseas into 2-5 new markets aligning with a number of strategic partners and ever growing customer base.
10. What other fintechs or companies do you admire?:
Zip are a customer, partner, and a sister company in the Reinventure portfolio, and we love what the team there are doing. Seeing how they’ve built their brand and fostered a deeper connection with their customers is inspiring. By becoming more than just a simple payment method they’ve been able to scale at pace and have built a solid team ready to take on the world.
11. What’s the most interesting or funniest moment that’s happened in your company’s lifetime?:
There’s been plenty of moments along the journey where we’ve had a laugh. The single most interesting (and funniest) time in Assembly’s history though would have to be when the three founders (Simon, Simon and Darren) plus employee #1 (Andrew McIntosh) spent three months in St Louis, Missouri very early on during the company’s inception. So many stories, so many welcoming locals, so many memories. We had been accepted into SixThirty fintech accelerator and it meant we had to move there temporarily to access funding, networking, partnership opportunities etc. Spending that amount of time, away from our families, with no money, in a shoebox apartment in downtown St Louis, not long after the Ferguson riots… was an eye opening, laugh a minute, once in a lifetime experience that we’ll all remember forever.