We talked to Mattias Eld, Co-founder, and CEO of Fidesmo, about connecting contactless services, such as payment, public transport tickets, office, hotel access, and car keys, to various devices such as wearables, cards, and phones. This is what he said:
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Mattias Eld: I am very well. I have four kids, and fortunately, Sweden decided not to close daycare and schools during the pandemic, so life has been quite OK on the home front. Fidesmo has mostly been working from home during these times, so I am really looking forward to start working from the office and to get day to day interaction with the team.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Fidesmo.
Mattias Eld: We (Miguel Cardo and I) started Fidesmo when the project we were working on was divested from Ericsson, and we were left without a favourite project to innovate around. This was quite some time ago. We then started working as a consultancy company before starting focusing on the platform thinking around 2016.
How does Fidesmo innovate?
Mattias Eld: A lot of the innovation is in the DNA, we always try to question already established truths together with our partners. But finally, in the end, cooperation with our partners is always the most important innovation path – that is how you get new ideas, and also how you get the courage to bring new ideas to market.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects your business, and how are you coping?
Mattias Eld: We work with secure contactless applications and payments. Overall, contactless payments have grown massively during 2020, driven by three factors:
- The payment infrastructure is almost 100% contactless in Europe now
- Contactless cards are being issued for real in the US since 2019
- Raised low-value payment limits across the world to limit physical interaction with the PoS:es
At the same time, a few projects have been delayed due to corona restrictions, so it has been a little bit of a mixed bag. But, if you look at our sales numbers, we tripled during 2020.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Mattias Eld: Not really more than during a normal year… the unfortunate truth is that there are always difficult decisions and priorities to make.
What specific tools, software, and management skills are you using to navigate this crisis?
Mattias Eld: No specific tools, just keeping a close eye on the finances. We were already operating as a distributed company when Covid-19 hit, so in the end, we just started to work from home.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Mattias Eld: The legacy providers of smart cards and secure elements (Thales, Idemia, and G&D) are all looking at how to integrate into the different major OEM Pays around the world. We work with that as well but are also expanding the target set of devices to passive ones. Our ambition is to constantly drive innovation in the market by lowering the barrier to entry for new kinds of devices and services that support a secure contactless experience.
Your final thoughts?
Mattias Eld: I think that 2020 has been a challenging year on many levels, but Fidesmo comes out of it on top. We are launching new partners, the team is growing, we have new integrations in place, and the market is getting more and more ready for a broad contactless experience.
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