Contributor Mary Miller-Furesh speaks with WAIV COO, Mal Ashton, to talk about the upcoming launch of the newest payments platform coming out of Australia, WAIV.
//SN: Mal tell me a little about what WAIV is.
WAIV is a payment platform designed to service the 2 billion unbanked and under banked individuals across a number of global financial markets. A key focus is the migrant worker population, who regularly transfer money internationally back to family and friends. WAIV’s offering includes access to secure, instant online global remittance, online accounts, and financial products and services. WAIV’s key differentiators include the offer of instant international funds remittance at low cost ($2 USD per transaction), as well as access to a more comprehensive range of products and services, including an online account linked to a debit card.
//SN: Instant transactions and a flat rate of $2 USD per transaction – that’s a huge disruption. So where did the idea for this come from?
The idea of creating WAIV was a culmination of thoughts between CEO John Fenga and myself. We both had terrific contacts in far reaching places around the globe that we knew we could depend upon to connect us with people in the right places. The entire WAIV concept has evolved over the past 24 months and is now culminating into reality very, very soon.
//SN: How did you validate the market?
We have studied the global remittance market extensively over the past two years and are aware of the significant opportunities that lie in various regions. Hence, they are our first target markets and we are very excited to launch in the very near future.
Offering financial inclusion to the worlds “unbanked” is a clearly defined purpose of ours and we are committed to delivering a world without borders.
//SN: Sounds like you have really hit a niche here. Something no one else is doing – a huge step away from the current offerings.
We are really intent on providing a secure, inexpensive alternative to those who are marginalised and doing it tough.
//SN: Where is WAIV based?
Our CEO – John Fenga, and Senior Designer – Sarah Kinsella, are based in Melbourne. Our CTO, CFO, Denning Chong, and I are based in Perth.
//SN: Mal, did you self-fund or raise investment?
We have invested internally in this business and involved friends and family to all enjoy the ride together. We have spoken with various investment groups in different countries but have decided we would rather keep it in-house for as long as we can.
//SN: How did you get the app built?
The platform was built in the USA so it’s a good fit for their mindset, however we are building the application that will control the system here in Australia within our technology division.
//SN: What’s your plan for next six months? How do you plan on growing?
Our growth phase starts in the next 3-4 weeks as we look to launch our products through the US and Mexico channel. This is currently the largest remittance corridor in the world. We will then look to Asia for expansion and traction in other significant markets.
//SN: How are you finding launching into the US from Perth?
The launch in the US is difficult predominantly due to the time zone. We are currently employing in LA in the next 4-6 weeks which will give us eyes and ears on the ground. The US market understands the fintech space much better than here in Australia so that makes some things easier.
//SN: What lessons can you share with us in the process to date?
Through the processes of creating WAIV, we have learned valuable lessons on numerous fronts.
- No one wants to help you because they want to see you succeed. They want something from you.
- Trust your gut instincts as they’re there for a reason.
- Resilience is a key ingredient as you’ll get kicked down more times than you will care to remember.
//SN: If you had to give one tip to fellow founders, what would it be?
My advice to entrepreneurs looking to gain traction with their concept and or idea would be to ensure you believe in your product with everything you’ve got. If you believe and want it bad enough – endure the short term pain and enjoy the lifelong gain of knowing you made something really special.