There's No More Room For The Middleman

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He’s everywhere: between the products you buy, shaking your hand in front of the house you’re about to tour, filtering what makes it onto your local media. The middleman has been right in the center of transactions from the days of bartering to the evolution into cheques and cash – and the most widely accepted and most known middleman is right in your web history.

“Third party processors like Paypal, what they do is stand today between the merchant and cash. What people have been looking to do is find a way to get to funds immediately,” Founder and CEO of Payfirma, Michael Gokturk explained. “If I own a thrift store and sell $10,000 worth of surfboards, my accounts get slowed down, and sometimes even frozen, because they think it’s fraud and you basically have to wait till they prove it’s not before you can do anything.”

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This has been the business norm used for decades in small to large size businesses. Why change a functionally working system? Michael argues, it isn’t a matter of whether or not things are going to be disrupted; it’s a matter of who’s going to do it first.

“In the past 10 years consumer behaviour changed with mobile. The way you and I take a car ride has changed dramatically with Uber. The way we find dates has changed. The way news is disseminated is disrupted by Twitter,” Michael emphasized, “There’s a simpler, easier way.”

That simpler and easier way looks like a world without the middleman, but it was more than just creating a way for businesses to process and access funds. Michael noticed that business owners like himself had many different accounts for different aspect of the business, and that showcased a deeper need in payment processing. If Business X uses Party Y for their websites and their bank for their in store solutions, how many Michael Gokturks does it take to create a disrupting solution? As many as you’d like really, as long as they all combine their channels through Payfirma.

“We’ve created a monumental shift. Now you can have everything in one account. One screen, one report, one account,” Michael beamed. “This has been really been awakening for a lot of businesses. The real time aspect has been an epiphany.”

After beating out Square in being the first to launch mobile payment in Canada, Michael’s vision for Payfirma further evolved into eliminating what is arguably the most loathed barrier in product purchasing – the lines at the cashier. “After about 5 or 10 minutes we drop what we’re about to buy and walk away because we get tired of waiting,” Michael laughed. “We wanted to create a mobile check out. People were livid, ‘It’s not secure! No one’s going to swipe their phone!’ We didn’t make this up, we saw a demand that was real and we created Payfirma to solve that.”

In even more groundbreaking moves to create user empowerment, Payfirma marvelled business owners and developers alike (and those who are both) with their easy-to-integrate API. His hopes, through the disruption, is one that turns helps growth and turns businesses from “Beta to Billions”.

“Go build your dream store, you build the way you want it,” Michael urged. “Well, you know, God bless our banks, we owe it to our banking systems for avoiding the financial crisis but ultimately it’s the entrepreneurs who are going to save us. They’re the ones with the vision.”

 

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Romila Barryman is a mad-scientist of sorts. She experiments with words, concocts diabolical phrases and explores tech like it is territory to be conquered. Her current lab experiments can be seen as founder of the Tech section for VancityBuzz, Lighthouse Labs Alumni and Full Stack Developer.
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