Integration Drives SMB Success
Kevin Jones - June 13, 2019 - Anyone that takes a close look can see that the payments ecosystem has changed dramatically. Think about the last time you walked into a chiropractor’s office or a florist’s shop. Five years ago, you would have seen a small box terminal at the front desk or cash register. Now, you are likely to see small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) like these using tablets or other business management software integrated with a payments gateway.
Companies like ours have evolved accordingly. Instead of launching Celero Commerce as a traditional payments play, we architected ourselves as a true financial technology (FinTech) firm, where our role is to drive commerce and cultivate growth and profitability for our customers. We want to help them win. This core goal is reflected in our name, as Celero is from the Latin meaning “accelerate.”
I first witnessed the changing landscape of payments in the early 2000s, just a few years into my career. We started seeing a lot of business management software effectively drive success specifically at the enterprise level. One of the first industry sectors we saw change radically was restaurants. The advent of tablets, and mobile solutions in the last five to seven years have made the integration of payments and software much more affordable downstream in the small to mid-size business sector.
What tends to hold companies and even entire verticals back sometimes is the failure to design and develop software with a payment experience that’s fluid within the space. We’ve seen event and invoicing software companies struggle because they didn’t do payments well. And while at previous stops in my career, we tried to make the payments experience easier, with Celero we’ve turned the model on its head. We’ve taken a different approach by acquiring SAAS software that’s applicable in more than 60 verticals, and we will continue to expand that scope of influence. Our goal is to deliver differentiated and complete solutions (payments, data analytics, software) to customers that help them compete and win in a competitive market.
Integration is important at Celero, as it is for a number of companies in our industry. We believe, however that true differentiation happens when you alter merchant and consumer behavior. We like to think we can alter behaviors by being “disruptively simple” in our work. While many of our competitors are still focused on delivering a core payments solution while trying to get merchants to secondarily add business management software and tools, we’re taking a path less traveled, that’s more customer-centric. At Celero, we are not looking for software to be our distribution. We’re looking to be their distribution. Furthermore, most merchants don’t have time, and many more don’t have the expertise to try to package all of these solutions themselves in an effective manner.
To illustrate this point, let’s look at one of our first acquisitions, RazorSync. Great software is both high-impact and user-friendly, and RazorSync has earned that designation. The team at RazorSync has built some breakthrough software targeted at field service businesses like HVAC, exterminators, landscaping, plumbing, electricians, and many more. The core software helps field service companies with both operations process management and financial management. In addition, the development team designed a user experience that optimizes payments. Serving companies in a vertical previously dominated by cash and checks has given RazorSync the opportunity to make a real difference. Customer surveys have quantified the difference, too, as the average RazorSync user reports first-year growth of 23 percent. This is a great example of what we want to repeat moving forward, making solutions simple and cost-effective, empowering our customers to grow faster.
That’s our sweet spot at RazorSync and at all of the teams that comprise Celero, helping businesses. At the intersection of payments, management software, and business intelligence is greater efficiency and cashflow, seamless integration with accounting software, and streamlined reporting. All of these factors contribute to better decision-making with real data at the business owner’s fingertips.
The future is bright when you see the opportunities for us to drive middleware technology in the service of SMBs. Celero will look to create automation and simplify integration and boarding for every merchant. We will focus on delivering the most actionable data to Celero customers.
Our future acquisition outlook will be shaped by our desire to make a big impact for our users. Thus, we’ll look for software companies optimizing their products for verticals we are interested in, such as nonprofits, schools, and government. As we grow, we’ll continue to build strong distribution channels—direct, integrated, and via partnerships with financial institutions—making Celero the commerce the partner of choice in these verticals for growth-oriented customers.