We talked to Noam Nevo, founder, and CEO at Osu, about online payment processing and this is what he said about it.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Noam Nevo: Very well thank you. We’ve obviously had to adjust like everyone else but we’re doing well and staying safe.
Tell us about you, your career, and how you founded Osu.
Noam Nevo: After graduating in Computer Science, my passion was in technical programming and building platforms that allowed businesses of all shapes and sizes to update and streamline many outdated processes. I was always looking for new, and better, ways to do things and this still drives everything to this day.
I joined the payment platform Paypal in 2013 as a Software Engineer and worked within their production team creating and implementing several business platforms. After two years there I left to build my own freelance operation, and continue to develop my programming skills. I then founded a new company called Vala, a money transferring system for banks and financial institutions.
After seeing the freelance industry, and experiencing the teething problems first hand, I found there was certainly a gap for a streamlined tool that focussed solely on the self-employed. Too many of the payment apps or programs were made for bigger multi-national organizations, and I quickly found that the need was certainly there.
I understood the importance of tracking and managing finances within a start-up and how losing sight of payments can quickly affect general day-to-day operations. The constant chasing and management of this process pushed me to create a better approach, one that works specifically for the self-employed – which is where Osu steps in.
How does Osu innovate?
Noam Nevo: Like many businesses we always try to stay ahead of the curve in ideas and the products we offer. I believe that Osu is the best tool for the self-employed out there and we will continue to shape and refine the product to keep it on top.
We also are ready to maneuver and adapt to changes. For instance, with the recent pandemic we’ve had to shift operations but being ready and willing helps you stay active and afloat.
In addition to this, we use our customer base as much as possible. At the end of the day they are the experts and they know what they need, over what they want. We listen. We run several interviews, surveys, and focus groups, to try and understand any issues or problems. This then allows us to educate and change the product for the better. Your users are your ultimate tool so listening to them is vital.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business & finances?
Noam Nevo: The biggest impact had obviously been changing to a fully remote operation, and how our workforce uses the office. Our London office has remained closed since the pandemic hit, and the Tel Aviv location has gone through several levels of openings and closures.
We want to ensure everyone working for Osu is safe and feels comfortable with their working environment so we’ve now gone fully online and will continue to work from home until it’s right to move back into our office space.
In terms of finances and operations, we’ve had to be more efficient with our spending but at the same time support both our staff and our users across the globe.
Again since the pandemic hit we’ve remained very close and the management team has been very open about the state of play and ensuring Osu’s operation and ultimate survival. We’ve had to adapt but the flexibility and ability to remain in control has been a great indicator of how strong our team, and product. is.
Did you have to make difficult choices regarding human resources and what are the lessons learned?
Noam Nevo: We worked very hard to build and implement a plan that looked after both our staff and the company, however, we, unfortunately, had to reduce headcount as part of steering through the pandemic.
During the lockdown both in Tel Aviv and in London, we put some of our staff on furlough but being a start-up ourselves, this obviously put a strain on the business and our operation.
The people we work with are very close to us and most of our team I have known personally for years. Some very difficult decisions were made, but we are and will continue to do all we can to rebuild a stronger workforce moving forward. It’s a very difficult situation but we’re proud that we’ve managed to survive, and also ensure we’re stronger for it.
How did your customer relationship management evolve? Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?
Noam Nevo: In Osu’s infancy I and the management team went everywhere Osu did. We were on the ground across Europe, at airports every other day, and helping to push the product to as many new users as possible. We spoke at conferences, held seminars, and showcased the app everywhere we could. That obviously changed when the pandemic hit, and because of that a lot of our sales and marketing initiatives moved online. We worked hard to keep our customers just as close and part of the company’s journey as we evolved.
Where we’re no longer able to meet face-to-face, we now run several interviews, meetings, and focus group sessions that give our users the space to reach out and share their thoughts. I also personally remain very connected with our support team and like to include myself as much as possible with talking and assisting our customers. I feel it’s vital to keep your customers as close as possible and use their opinion or experience to your advantage. We will always listen, and Osu will be a better product because of the people that use it.
Your final thoughts?
Noam Nevo: Osu, which means Push in Japanese, gives self-employed people access to some of the most cutting-edge payment tools created. The app works effortlessly behind the scenes to automate and control financial systems – from raising invoices, chasing overdue payments, and distributing one-click payment requests. Osu allows the self-employed to focus on running their business and not waste time and resources with ad-hoc payment admin tasks. A virtual PA working behind the scenes for you and your business. We simply let the self-employed work less and make more.
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