How a strong business culture can create a huge business opportunity

22/03/18

Paresh Davdra, Co-Founder and CEO, Xendpay

Rajesh Agrawal and I established Xendpay in 2011 with the vision of reducing the costs of international payments whilst still maintaining the best possible customer service.

Xendpay, which is part of the Rational Group Ltd, has transferred over $10 billion in online money transfers to date. We have offices in the UK, France and Spain, and continue to deliver the same values and message that we have done since the very beginning. This is in line with our vision of providing a cost effective way of sending cross-border payments, efficiently, securely and without any issues, and we continue to deliver on this promise.

There are, of course, some challenges. In light of Brexit, to an extent, we still don't actually know what the outcomes will be, and for Xendpay it is a big deal, as we passport our FCA licence into Europe and have customers all across Europe. In fact more than half of our customer-base is across Europe, and Xendpay services all these customers by having local bank accounts in the applicable countries.

Brexit has also significantly impacted and driven currency fluctuations across various markets. People or businesses that are importing from overseas to sell products in the UK, for example, will have found that those products have become increasingly expensive, although it has also created a huge opportunity for the domestic market. More and more companies are looking within the country, utilising their own economy and building their own domestic demand, which is fantastic for small businesses that are trying to grow within an economy.

Since Xendpay began, we've had a culture where we want to grow employees through the business and thereby have taken on a number of internships. One employee, for example, on our European desk, who is originally from France, started with the Group as an intern four years ago and has grown through the ranks, and developed into leading our French team, and now actually heads up our entire European team.

We also have apprentices who have joined our compliance team and, after training, can progress through the levels. We have already built a solid management team, and have a CEO for RationalFX, our sister brand and also part of Rational Group Ltd, who has a depth of relevant experience, combined with a strong second-tier management team.

Diversity is very important to us and the company’s culture is really down to its grass roots. Rajesh, my Co-Founder and now Non-Executive Chairman (as well Deputy Mayor of London for Business), came to London in 2001 as a migrant and together we have built something from scratch. My father came here in 1972 from Uganda and was very lucky to be given opportunities when he arrived allowing him to support our family, and I was born here. I think because of our background, we've always had that element of equality. We firmly believe that we have to provide opportunities to people that are maybe less fortunate or are from different backgrounds. If you look at our organisation now, for example, there are over 15 different languages spoken daily, which is fantastic. Over 60% of our staff are from all across Europe.

We're an organically grown firm. We've never had any funding, and now one of a few firms left of our size that haven't received any investment. We've had to regularly think that if we want to attract and retain talent, what is the best route? Actually, what really brings people to our organisation isn't the salaries, because we can't afford to pay on the same level as some funded organisations. It’s the sheer passion and the willingness, and what we want to achieve, combined with the belief, culture and company values that brings prospective employees our way. Although we have spent time working through this recruitment strategy a significant part of it has happened naturally from the bottom up.

We've always held technology in high regard, and had a focus on it from early days. Combined with a strong in house IT and development team, we have an outsourced specialist to manage our networks and servers, and ensure that security is at the highest level. We also have a third-party firm that specialise in cyber security, and who regularly come and stress test our systems, as well execute a full audit.

Cyber-attacks are on the rise. Cyber criminals are increasingly finding new ways in which they can manipulate systems, and it is dangerous to presume you have a foolproof plan, as it’s likely in a few months they'll find ways of breaking it. It is critical you continuously test yourself, test your company and find ways to better the solution.

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