Biggest Takeaways From 2022

Q&A With Priscilla D’Oliveira Friedman

What are the biggest takeaways from 2022?

2022 was a transformational year for cross-border payments and everyone in the payment industry. Being in a post-covid environment, many companies have had to learn how to adapt to a new culture and become digital. During the transition from 2021 to 2022, we noticed a need for seamless digital products to be available to consumers fast, and time to market has become a challenge for the industry.

There are three different examples we have seen. 1) The companies that were ready and adapted well during covid. They built different digital capable and were able to fulfill new creative ways of doing payments, like biometrics, using phone numbers and their apps, transforming the ways we make payments. 2) The companies that were unable to move fast enough to deliver a solution but are still in the game. 3) and companies that couldn’t produce the digital solution that were left behind, and now that we enter 2023, we see these companies are losing relevance and market share.

 My biggest takeaway from 2022 would have to be how you position your company to leverage digital so that you can beat time to market. That’s why the new trend coming into the industry is buy instead of build. We can attribute this to fintechs that have provided different services within the industry to solve other problems, from different payment methods to RegTech. We see huge importance in connecting with the right partners. I also saw the market focusing on providing P2P growing into the B2B payment solutions in 2022. By focusing on more B2B, companies can leverage the volume to grow. The final point from 2022 is to understand where your customer segments are going. With Covid, people rethought where they are going to live, and we saw a lot of migrations to countries in Europe, Africa, and Asia, so understanding your demographics and understanding where the next generation has moved, is very important for your next step. To summarize, can you beat your competition in time to market? Have you focused on B2B to grow your volume? Are you learning about your customer segmentation and entry into new markets? 

 What can we expect for the industry in 2023?

 The main thing companies should expect for 2023 is to be able to deliver your digital solutions in different segments and markets while being compliant. Now that the cross-border payment landscape is growing and people are getting more volume and VC injections, we have noticed a lot more focus on compliance and ensuring you have the proper process to deliver a seamless transaction to the customer. We see 2023 as a year of growth and volume, whereas 2022 was setting up the foundation. Now is the time for execution and ensuring you have the right partners. Keep your eyes open, Investors are not only looking for opportunities that are delivering volume, but they are also looking for solutions that have a gap in the market. So, make sure you build a product solving existing gaps or deficiencies. Execute with excellence, do it with the right partner, and ensure you have a great compliance team. Compliance is the beginning of everything.

Also, 2023 is going to be a year of transformation. For example, Brazil launched a massive project with PIX in the last two years, and the U.S. is growing its product with FedNow. These initiatives aim at positioning payments to move into the instant deposit. We see new payment solutions coming from the government with instant payment at your fingertips. This is happening faster than expected, which tells us that all the companies within the cross-border space must catch up.

 What can we expect from CrossTech 2023?

 We have revamped our strategy for CrossTech 2023 to fulfill the transformation of the industry by including a new conference called CrossTech Payment 2023, where we will unite a new group of executive leaders, including investors, Fintechs, collaborators, cross-border payment providers, and technology solution providers because we see a trend on the payment space becoming more digital and more B2B. You will see much impact from CrossTech to deliver those networking opportunities for you to be in front of these new companies that are providing service to this new trend. On top of that, we will continue to do strategic partnerships to grow, one being the Global Forum on Remittances, Investment and Development Summit 2023 Africa promoted by United Nations iokisn Nairobi, Africa, where we will be hosting the awards, utilizing our branded Remtech Awards, our award program in partnership with GFRID so that we can evaluate companies around the world and be able to deliver the next big players in the industry. Our focus is to be the disruptors, to be ahead, and to provide new opportunities to our customers and followers. On top of that, I have a personal passion for women’s empowerment, so we will be working on more panels and discussions with women making a difference in the industry, not only in the money transfer field but also in the Technology, network, and banking partnerships. I am very excited to continue to provide opportunities for women leaders, founders, and C-level executives to continue to grow and mentor other women to pave the way for the next generation.

 How do you see B2B payments in 2023?

 The main goal of cross-border companies has been how do I get the most volume and beat time to market. With B2B, you can achieve volume faster. Especially after post-covid, with globalization, companies can now hire contractors and partners from different parts of the world. They are not just thinking in the box. This has enabled banks and money transfer companies to diversify their teams and business partners. Having the payment solutions to do that in a one-stop shop is transformational. When I think about B2B, my question is, “Why haven’t we done this sooner?”

 How do you see Crypto moving in 2023?

Crypto has been through a lot in the last year. We have seen volatility, especially in compliance, where they have yet to be able to navigate into some countries. But we have also seen some advancement. As you know, El Salvador was the first country to become digital with Crypto as a currency, and the Central African Republic followed suit last year. We will see more countries following this path. Crypto is here to stay. There will always be obstacles, but it’s a business model that makes sense; with the right structure and solution behind it, it should become a more trusted currency. I see more crypto companies entering the space, especially in Cross-border, because of the advantages and efficiencies of trading crypto vs traditional currencies. On the counter, there are a lot of compliance issues that need to be top of mind. “It’s not just a trend; it’s here to stay!”

I look forward to seeing more cross-board payment companies adopt crypto solutions for their customers.

 Where do you see mergers and acquisitions for 2023?

 I see it everywhere. I see executives making decisions on M&A to exit their company or to make their company grow. So, when there is this much transformation in the industry, you must have a competitive advantage. It would be best if you had a strategy. Strategy one can be your exit strategy; you reach the market share you are looking for, you are stable, but you want to continue to grow in a bigger way that you don’t have enough funds for; you would partner with a company that has the tech, and that are looking to invest, or you are a company that will not survive in the market, you are going to exit if you don’t make a Merger & Acquisition with investors to fulfill the needs you can’t fulfill on your own. It’s becoming clear that without Mergers and Acquisitions, it will be very hard for companies to survive. M&A is also a great way to enter new markets instead of applying for your license. Why not purchase a business that already has the permit to save time? So, it has to be part of your business model to continue growing. Partnership is key for the industry to sustain its growth.

 How is Women’s empowerment impacting the industry today?

There is much work to be done. The cross-border payment industry is still very male-dominated. As I mentioned earlier, part of my mission as the COO of CrossTech is to provide the right tools and ways for other women to fulfill their career growth within the cross-border payment industry and to help the CEOs leverage how women in their executive teams are going to help them make better decisions. During our last conference, CrossTech World 2022, we had a panel to discuss women making a difference. We brought a founder,  fintech leader, and a lawyer to discuss their careers and how they have grown and impacted the industry. My plan for 2023 is to be able to give women a place and a voice to be able to partner with other leaders to make a difference.

 What keeps you motivated every day?

Working in an industry that provides value to society to move money and push an economy is amazing. To be able to understand immigration trends makes all this possible. The more we grow in cross-border payments, the more we help immigrants to continue to thrive, helping society to flourish. We have a passion for immigrants, as most of our team members are from different countries around the globe. We want to continue to push industry standards and solutions so this can continue to happen. You can count on CrossTech to continue to help revolutionize the industry landscape and have a social impact.