First of all, how are you and your Family doing in these COVID-19 Times?
Johan Meyer: It was a very stressful time when it started as it’s something as a country we’ve never experienced before. The lockdown of people and the economy made one wonder about the kind of future we are about to experience. As an entrepreneur, you couldn’t help but think about your business’s future and the effects it will have on the industry at large. As a single father of one, it also made me appreciate my time with my daughter. We grew closer and found creative ways to spend our time. South Africa is currently on Alert Level 2, meaning things are almost back to normal even though the battle is not yet over.
Tell us about you, your Career, how you founded Walletec
Johan Meyer: I have been involved in the mobile payment space for over 20 years and founded the current company, Wallettec, in 2013. My background as s software developer includes a stint in the banking industry and also being part of the mobile solutions for big corporations like MTV, Sony, Aljazeera, Blinko, and various mobile banking systems in Africa and the USA.
Wallettec started as a mobile money integration company, and our success over the years allowed us to build strong partnerships and good clientele all over the African continent. Our system provided merchants and retailers with the ability to accept instant payments without ever sharing any payment or personal information. Our work included retail payments, school payments, remittances, escrow services, voucher payments, and many more. And, earlier this year, we decided to focus on sports betting payments exclusively.
How does Walletec innovate?
Johan Meyer: Wallettec provides the sports betting industry with a single integration point and gives it access to multiple countries and multiple payment platforms. This assists the gaming operators with marketing and expanding into more countries quicker. Our key differentiator is our ability to grow into any new territory or country quickly. Our platform allows a bookmaker to enter any new country without writing a single line of code. We have developed a platform that not only takes care of collecting payments but solves various other payment related issues as well. These include mass payouts, fraud protection, loyalty/rewards, and international as well as national settlements.
We also top our offering in the industry by offering Wallettec Rewards, a platform we use to reward the players for placing bets using the Wallettec wallet. We pay these rewards at no cost to the betting or gaming company. The other offering, MyBux, makes it possible for cash-based players to place a bet using vouchers. We have also developed a platform that enables regulators to monitor all betting transactions in real-time.
All payment activity can be monitored without breaking any privacy laws or without exposing any private or confidential information to the regulators. One of the biggest challenges for regulators is getting accurate data to allow them to calculate tax, and with our system, this issue is resolved and eliminated. Tax fraud can be eliminated, which means a higher tax income for countries from the betting industry. We are currently in operation in more than 10 African countries, working with local partners to provide hassle-free payment solutions in their local sports betting industries.
How the Coronavirus Pandemic affects your Business, and how are you coping?
Johan Meyer: Even though we operate all over the continent, we are a company that’s very lean on staff. The pandemic’s effects didn’t really force us to make drastic decisions that affected the business. Our industry was extremely disrupted as there was no sport being played during the worldwide lockdown, but we managed to survive, dust off, and back in full force.
Did you have to make Difficult Choices, and what are the Lessons Learned?
Johan Meyer: Fortunately for us, our choices were not that difficult as we adopted a wait and see approach. Obviously, if the lockdown had gone on for longer, it would have collapsed the business. The reopening of the games has been a lifesaver for us. The major lesson is that as a business, you need to stay ready for the unexpected, and you have to quickly adapt to the new normal.
How do you deal with Stress and Anxiety? How do you project yourself and Walletec in the Future?
Johan Meyer: I live in one of the most beautiful cities globally, Cape Town, in South Africa, and in trying times, a walk to the beach always calms me down. Not far from Cape Town is Stellenbosch, which is gifted with some of the most amazing vineyards in the world, and a drive there is always therapeutic. But, nothing beats spending time with my daughter as it makes me forget all the world problems.
Wallettec has some big plans for the future. Our aim is to not just be the leader and a preferred payment partner in Africa but to grow our business internationally. We have plans to expand into Europe as soon as the travel bans are lifted and we are allowed to travel. We realized that the only real way to protect our company is by growing and staying positive. For this reason, we have decided to put more focus on our rewards system, and the reason for this is it allows us to give back to the players. This way, we can help those most affected during this epidemic, and there is no better way to stay positive.
Who are your Competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the Game?
Johan Meyer: Our competitors are mostly from Europe and operating on the African continent. Some of them are not really familiar with the continent, and that’s what makes us stand out. We are an African company that has built strong local partnerships in every country we operate in. We understand the market and the country’s dynamics.
Wallettec will be in the game for years to come because of its passion for Africa, and in all my years in this industry, I have always been driven by the idea of providing solutions for the continent. Our innovation is for the people, and we believe that as long as there’s a need for more solutions, Wallettec will find a way. As a company, we are always open to partnerships and business with any organization that understands our thinking line. Our ability to expand to different countries quicker is what makes us a preferred payment partner to a number of operators.
Your Final Thoughts
Johan Meyer: We live in interesting times at the moment, and companies are called upon to really use this time to find solutions that make the world a better place. The pandemic has affected people’s incomes, jobs, and businesses; it is important not to be driven by the idea of profit at all cost more than providing solutions that build a better world. The gap between the rich and the poor keeps widening, and the power of fintech, especially in Africa, has always been to make technology accessible to even the most marginalized, and it is our duty to keep that spirit.
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