Startup News Magazine

PingPong first payment service provider built 100% for cross-border commerce 

PingPong, founded in 2015 in New York, now operates in India is the first payment service provider built 100% for cross-border e-commerce retailers, exporters and freelancers. It’s on a mission to become the driving force of and accelerate global trade digitisation. Its core products include payment services covering all segments of cross-border trade, starting from B2B in e-Commerce. Now have a suite of financial products covering B2C and wholesale sales, wholesale trade businesses, end-to-end payment solutions for developers and freelancers, and related FX services. The country’s Manager Mr Mukesh Sahu interacted with Hello Entrepreneurs and gave us insight into PinPong.

Till now, PingPong has accommodated:

business flows from over 200 countries/regions

processed over $95 billion in transaction volume

connects over 100 international e-commerce marketplaces

over 100 international financial institutions

Q. How did PingPong come into existence; what was the biggest inspiration?

Before PingPong, the SMBs doing cross-border e-Commerce and did not have dedicated services, and customers were underserved. Although there were a few known names in the cross-border payment industry, they primarily considered the e-Commerce platforms as their customers instead of the e-Commerce sellers and did not focus on servicing the sellers. In occasional unfortunate situations where e-Commerce platforms and sellers had disagreements between a platform and a seller, the payment service providers always supported the platforms.

The founders of PingPong thought this to be unfair. Since small merchants pay fees to these platforms, they should receive dedicated products and services to help them solve their problems and pain points. That was the genesis of PingPong.

As the journey of PingPong progressed, we found out that these cross-border e-commerce sellers or SMBs that aspired to thrive in cross-border selling had to pay higher transaction fees, as well as higher software cost, higher interest rates and higher shipping fees, among others. These customers came to us for innovative solutions to address those pain points, and we have been building since then. We have a suite of tools, products and services for SMBs.

Q. Is there any story behind the PingPong name and how has your journey been so far?

We endowed the name with a few symbols and a few metaphors. First, PingPong is small but agile – that is how we wanted to be as a startup. Secondly, the Ping Pong ball bounces back and forth, just like payments go back and forth—with speed and vigor.

And lastly, most people probably did not know that the sport of Ping Pong or Table Tennis originated in Victorian England and England. Today PingPong has become a popular global sport of love, for thought instead; it is a local game because it is so easy to learn, fun and accessible, and so much fun to everyone. So like PingPong, we want to grow to be like that.

The journey has been more rewarding and exciting than we thought. We are able to recruit really talented people from banking, e-commerce and relevant fields globally and bring them on the journey with us to empower local merchants and entrepreneurs to win overseas international businesses and bring more value to the global trade ecosystem. Very few companies can create value in the market and make it challenging and fun at the same time for its people.

Q. What makes PingPong unique from other payment providers?

Initially, I would say we are purpose built for our customers, which is quite distinct. However, when I think it over, I would use ‘mission-built’ instead. Payment is a highly-competitive market, but we do not operate with a zero-sum mentality. Our principle is to maximize the benefits and values for our customers and business partners through persistent product iteration and innovation.

It is not just about purpose-built products but also about service-oriented branding. In addition, we ask our team—whether they are customer-facing or in back-office roles- to keep thinking of new ways to add more value to customers and create win-win situations with our business partners.

Q. What is the future of fintech? Will it replace banks?

I would not venture to open an opinion about the future, but I would like to mention two observations. First, many new fintech companies are getting bank licenses, and many traditional banks are incubating fintech firms. So, the line between the two has become quite blurred. I think the future of the two sides of the industry may lead to very similar business models.

Secondly, PingPong counts some of the world’s largest banks as its closest partners, such as Citi, JP Morgan and BNP. It’s a win-win situation for all of us. Our customers get assurance that their money is in the hands of recognized financial institutions. PingPong has the flexibility of deploying the most efficient payment routes. And the banks can also increase their revenue stream from the wholesale business with a high level of sophisticated compliance and growing revenue streams.

I can think of quite a few more ways of working together with the banks. We are also thinking of new ways to synergize with big banks.

Q. What are your endeavours for the next 5 year with PingPong?

We have been building this payment ecosystem with our customers and partners for the past seven years, and it felt like only a year or two.

For the next five years, I think we will continue to innovate and evolve with the Day One mentality, but with an ever-growing ever-larger and diverse team across the world.