By Melissa Repko
The Dallas Morning News
WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Great Q&A with the founder of “ModoPayments.” As the mobile payments industry continues to explode, this is an interesting look at how some payment systems work and what is on the horizon in the industry.
Bruce Parker’s obsession is an invisible technology that you use each day but rarely think about: payment systems that shuffle money around after you swipe your credit card, reimburse your friend through an app or make an online purchase.
Parker, a self-described payments geek, is the founder and CEO of ModoPayments. That’s short for “mobile does” or “more dough.”
Modo acts as like a payment plumber. It uses a transaction system called COIN to connect financial services companies or other sources of value with digital payment tools. It connects old and new payment systems and can integrate loyalty programs. Its list of clients includes Bank of America, VeriFone and European financial tech startup Klarna.
Parker began the company in 2010 thinking it would help brands build their own payment app, like Starbucks did. But over time, when it became clear that few customers were ditching their plastic credit cards for phone payment apps like Apple Pay, Modo pivoted. It lopped off the consumer-facing part and decided to sell “the engine that converted value,” which was the COIN system.
Modo has raised about $11.6 million from strategic partners and investors. It was used for about $10 million of transactions in January, but Parker said he’d like to see that grow to $85 million per month by December.
Parker spoke about the startup’s growth at Modo’s suburban Dallas office. His answers have been edited for brevity and clarity.
Q: How did you become an entrepreneur?
A: I was the head of strategy for the largest payment software company in the world, ACI Worldwide. I was asked by the board of directors to do a review of the impact of mobile on the payments industry. And they never took the briefing. I spent over a year on this, with this big team and we were studying all of these different issues.