Interview: Javier Peso, CEO of PayTouch
Javier Peso, CEO of Spanish biometric payment processing startup PayTouch is a tireless entrepreneur who envisions a world in which payment is as easy as a swipe of your fingertips and forgetting your wallet at home is not the headache it is today.
Peso grew up in St. Andrew, a humble neighbourhood in Barcelona, Spain. He studied telecom engineering at the Technical University of Catalonia and has extensive experience working with multinational and local companies in the highly-competitive semiconductors market.
Peso recently spoke with Biometric Update about his own path to success, how he’s managed to attract talent, his goals and ideology as chief executive as well as the corporate vision and trajectory of PayTouch.
Biometric Update: How long has the PayTouch been in market?
Peso: After three years of development, we finally launched Paytouch to the market at the beginning for 2012.
Biometric Update: Can you tell me about how you formed your company and the vision for PayTouch?
Peso: It happened one night when I was having dinner at a Mexican restaurant in Barcelona with two friends from university, and also co-founders of PayTouch, Joan Segalà and German Ruiz. We’re all telecom engineers. When it was time to pay, we found a lot of problems. First, their machines wouldn’t read our credit cards, then they ran out of battery, so paying became something really complicated and tricky. It was then when it dawned on us that it would be great to be able to pay using only your fingers: easy, convenient, safe and always available.
From that moment on, we started working on this idea and trying to develop our project. We also added to the founders’ team two other members and friends: Sergi Almar, an IT engineer and Ignacio Molinario, a legal advisor.
Our vision for Paytouch is to be leaders in the alternative payment system area, combining online technologies with transactions in person.
Biometric Update: So, why is PayTouch important?
Peso: PayTouch is important because it brings the future of payment systems to the present. From now on, we hope that nobody will have to depend on having cash, bankcards, their wallet or any mobile device to be able to pay. You will only need to be there, and your fingerprints will open up a whole new world of possibilities. You won’t need to carry anything on you to pay once you’ve created your PayTouch account and linked your personal data and your card to your fingerprints. What will matter is who you are, not what you have. Plus, using biometrics to pay, we eliminate identity theft and well, your fingers can’t be stolen or copied; our sensors detect fakes or lifeless fingers.
All the payments are processed very fast — in less than 5 seconds — which helps speed up the sales or registration process.
Biometric Update: Are you developing any new biometric products? What’s next for PayTouch?
Peso: We’re developing new devices and services in order to make our transactions faster and even safer. For instance, we’re including in our devices new ways of communication such as 3G, and we are also working on creating new devices that can be integrated with other payment systems. Other than the payment system, we are also developing biometric recognition and access devices, because there’s a demand from our clients.
Biometric Update: Who are your typical clients?
Peso: We have started out with clients in the hospitality industry, and nightlife businesses, but the system could be used anywhere, really. We think that it would work very well in supermarkets, amusement parks or cruises, and we expect to grow in those directions.
Biometric Update: Can you give me a sense of your role and what you do as chief executive officer of PayTouch?
Peso: In a startup, a CEO is more like a chief everything officer rather than a real CEO. What I mean is that you need not only to develop the strategy of the company and manage all of the departments, financing, etc. You also need to be prepared to do the more executive things like looking for investors or to develop the business plan, [answering] the phone, doing engineering work or installing machines. Honestly, it is hard and you really do work 24 hours a day.
Biometric Update: What are your goals?
Peso: Having an excellent team with motivation and in very good harmony, like a family. That is the most important thing for me.
Biometric Update: Where do you see PayTouch in 5 years?
Peso: [We] would like to be the leaders of alternative methods in the payment market.
You can follow Javier Peso on twitter @javier_peso