Scaling Sensibly, Growing Globally: What We’ve Learned from Expanding Internationally
Since launching as an issuer-processor in 2012, Global Processing Services (GPS) has grown at a rate we couldn’t have anticipated in the beginning. We are now one of the fastest-growing, most exciting, and most successful fintechs in the industry.
Over the last eight years, we’ve learned some important lessons on the art of scaling. As a result, we’ve come up with our own methodology for ‘scaling sensibly’.
In fact, we were lucky enough to sponsor and join the Emerging Payments Association’s (EPA) recent EP@Home event to discuss this very topic. I sat down with the EPA’s Tony Craddock for a fireside chat covering what we’ve learned about getting bigger as an organisation, especially when that growth involves expanding our reach internationally.
What does scaling sensibly mean?
Scaling sensibly is about confidently executing our growth strategy into new continents without overextending the existing business. It requires us to complete proper due diligence and develop a watertight market-entry strategy to ensure that we can continue to deliver on our commitments. In simpler terms, it means learning when to say ‘no’.
We pride ourselves on the fact that our business is built on reputation and customer satisfaction, and it’s vitally important for us to protect that as we scale. With so many avenues for growth available, we have chosen to prioritise extensively reinforcing the foundations of our business so we can maintain this tight partnership approach for both existing and new customers. As we support clients on their growth journeys, we’re making sure our own growth is sustainable in the process.
So, while GPS has been keeping an eye on which opportunities to pursue, we have also been constantly considering how to build out our core capabilities to fully service those opportunities.
What this means for us
18 months ago, we had opportunities presented to us from all corners of the world. After careful consideration, we chose to focus first on the opportunities in Asia-Pacific, where our experience working with the most disruptive European Challenger Banks was being noticed by the Fintech scene in Singapore and Sydney. This has given us time to build our leadership team and globalise our operating model to properly service these multiple geographies and time zones.
While there were many reasons why we chose to pursue the opportunities in Asia-Pacific first, there was one moment that specifically stood out for me. In November 2018, we were selected to join the Department of International Trade’s fintech mission to Singapore as part of its Fintech Bridge programme. Exhibiting at the 40,000 person Singapore Fintech Festival (SFF) as part of the UK Pavilion, I decided at that moment that we were going to use SFF as a launchpad to announce our presence in the region the following year. And we did! GPS’ Singaporean launch was named among the top ten highlights of the festival in the press, and we have since opened offices in Singapore and Australia, working with some of the most exciting, innovative players in the region, including Razer Fintech, WeLab Bank, and Xinja.
Following our successful APAC expansion, GPS was selected by the Department for International Trade to be part of a prestigious cohort of Export Champions.
What is an Export Champion?
Essentially, GPS has been identified as a UK company that proves what can be achieved in terms of global export. As a result, we are now in a position to give advice and mentor other companies looking to export products and services abroad. We’re particularly pleased to have been selected for this position, as it ties in beautifully with a core GPS principle – that we all benefit collectively if we’re able to work together.
As a fintech enabler, GPS’ own expansion has been built around extensive collaboration – whether it’s establishing integrations with new partners such as issuing banks, ensuring adherence to local regulatory requirements, or readying the ecosystem to support new entrants’ local or international expansions. We are adding new countries to our ‘GPS ready’ portfolio every month.
Fintech isn’t, and cannot be, built on an every-man-for-himself attitude. The root of fintech is connection and collaboration. That’s why we’re delighted to take part in the Export Champions programme and advise others on how to get ahead of the curve, all while building out their network and their understanding of what can be done in new markets.
Where are we going next?
Well, that’s a big question! And while we can’t reveal everything yet, we can certainly say that there are plenty more exciting prospects on the horizon for GPS. However, what’s most important for us is that we continue to put our customers first and support them wholeheartedly on their growth journeys while also deepening our own core capabilities and extending our geographic reach.
These are the core principles of scaling sensibly, and we intend to follow them every step of the way.
By Joanne Dewar, CEO, GPS
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