Nicolas Bruley of Antelop tells us about cards digitization and the impact of Covid-19.
First of all, how are you and how is your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Nicolas Bruley: Very well, everyone is doing great and this is what is most important, especially during this time! I am grateful to be able to see my team whenever I am passing by the office.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded Antelop.
Nicolas Bruley: I started my career in the banking industry, within the biggest French and international payment companies. These experiences were extremely rewarding and created the desire to go even further and to create new solutions.
Together with three associates coming from the same industry, we founded Antelop in 2014.
At this time, this new way of payment was emerging, but there were a lot of limitations. We decided to launch the company and to introduce our mobile contactless payment solutions for banks to the market.
In the beginning, it was not easy, but we were the first company in the world to obtain the Visa certification (for security matters) and the connection to Carte Bancaire’s Hub. For the past two years, we have seen a real boost in our activity. We quickly expanded our activity abroad and offered our Visa and Mastercard certified solutions on a market where no other acceptance network was existing at the time.
Our strong expertise in security and also our knowledge in e.g. token lifecycle management makes us unique. As an SME, it was not easy to be trusted by big international banks, but we succeeded to position ourselves as a trustful partner, in France and abroad.
How does Antelop innovate?
Nicolas Bruley: We moved from a time when we simply created, activated, and paid with a “basic” card to one being digitized into your mobile phone or other connected devices in shops and that can be fully controlled in real-time. Indeed, we have come to a world of digital-first, where the plastic card will slowly disappear.
Antelop Solutions is the digital partner of banks and offers white-label mobile payment solutions for banks.
We digitize cards, secure banking apps, and offer a simplified launch of Apple Pay / Google Pay / any Pay with strong security components at its core. We secure banking apps through our Authentication SDK covering all use cases (secure card display, 3DS biometrics, account login, transfers authentication…). Our solutions are certified and connected to Visa, MasterCard, and Carte Bancaire. Being the first ones who received the security certifications
Visa VTS and Mastercard MDES, we are leaders in terms of certification.
We are active internationally, and we are very happy to say that over 35 banks in 24 countries trust us. Our
unified approach positions us as digital card experts.
How the coronavirus pandemic affects Antelop, and how are you coping?
Nicolas Bruley: In terms of activity, we observe a real acceleration of awareness among banks. This also accelerates their migration towards the digital card.
In particular, we currently see a clear increase in mobile contactless payments among consumers, proof that the health crisis is accelerating this trend.
Obviously, in terms of internal organization, there has been a real change for us, especially in our way of working: We mainly do home office and virtual meetings, a true change, even if we already did this to some extent before the start of the pandemic.
I would definitely say that constant communication within the company is essential.
Did you have to make difficult choices, and what are the lessons learned?
Nicolas Bruley: The hardest and biggest choice would have been not to give up, regarding the immensity of challenges that we faced during the first years after the creation of Antelop. With all these challenges in mind, it was indeed critical to make sure that we were heading in the right direction and not towards a dead end.
Who do you handle stress and anxiety during this particular period? And how do you project yourself and Antelop in the future?
Nicolas Bruley: It is very important to stay in touch with one another and to understand and take into consideration each individual situation. However, we can’t wait to reunite the whole team as soon as possible, especially as 10 new team members joined us in 2020!
In my free time, I am trying to spend as much time as I can with my family. I also exercise, I ride the bicycle, and I cook a lot. That is what I recommend to everyone: you should take time for yourself, especially during this particular period.
Who are your competitors? And how do you plan to stay in the game?
Nicolas Bruley: We very quickly had to face other actors, much bigger or better established. Our technical expertise, our in-depth knowledge of the challenges and expectations of the market as well as our rapid orientation abroad have allowed us to stand out and to today play on the same level with the biggest of them.
We have both the responsiveness of a startup and the strong process robustness of a large industrial company.
The last word?
Nicolas Bruley: I am very proud of our innovations around the digital card and what we succeeded to realize with our team, especially during this particular year 2020! I cannot wait to see what this new year will bring us.