Having been in fintech for more than two decades, Syncapay CEO and Chairman Juli Spottiswood knows a thing or two about the industry.
Recently, Spottiswood led the merger of daVinci Payments and North Lane Technologies, formerly Wirecard North America. Plano-based Syncapay, was already the parent company of daVinci Payments but the recent merger brought in North Lane under Syncapay’s wing as well.
Syncapay acquires high growth payments companies that have technology solutions and in 2017, made its first acquisition when it bought Swift Prepaid Services Solutions, now daVinci Payments. Spottiswood would not comment on Syncapay’s revenue or growth metrics.
Rewinding back to 1999, Spottiswood co-founded Parago, a consumer promotions and incentives company. She was president and CEO when she sold the company to Blackhawk Network in 2014 for $291 million. Then, Spottiswood joined Blackhawk and led the integration of Parago and Blackhawk’s two previous acquisitions to create Blackhawk Engagement Solutions, which she ran until 2015.
Fast forward to today, I spoke with Spottiswood about everything from leading Syncapay, to navigating the COVID-19 pandemic, to the advice she would give young women in their careers.
How has it been leading Syncapay and navigating the COVID-19 pandemic?
Every company out there has suffered in one way or another. I like the fact that as companies, we all united and tried to figure out how to help each other. In our business [that] was no different than everybody else’s. It took a hit during the summer months but has since made a nice return to normalcy. But navigating COVID-19 was challenging, but everybody was up for the challenge and did a beautiful job.
What long term implications would you say the COVID-19 pandemic has had on the company in terms of how you operate internally or externally?
What happened is the pandemic and working from home — and I don’t mean just corporate employees but I also mean recipients of our products — [caused] the shift to digital [to] accelerate by two years. I feel like we were on this slow growth to digital, and then COVID happened and it took a sharp increase. What it’s done for the industry is it’s made everybody realize that digital is the way of the future for payments.
Where do you see Syncapay a year from now?
Our number one job is to integrate these two companies. They’re large companies, we have to integrate them. We are all about the future of payments… There’s a lot of organic growth to be had, we’re going to continue being a leader in innovation. We think about global expansion, and what that could look like. If there are some acquisitions that make sense, we will look at those. There are a lot of levers for growth within Syncapay, and we’re going to remain focused and continue this growth trajectory that we’re on.
Can you elaborate on what you mean by global expansion?
We have the ability to issue in nine currencies and distribute payments around the world today. But the vast majority of our client base is US-based companies that have multinational operations. When I say global expansion, I mean moving into a geography and actually winning business within that geography. So, working with international companies on their payment needs. We opened a small office in London this year, and that’s our first foray into international expansion.
What advice do you have for women in business?
If I could talk to young women, I would tell them that when you think about being a CEO or a leader and you think about being a mom, it’s not ‘either’, ‘or’ it can be ‘and.’ For me, I was blessed to work with men who understood that I was trying to fulfill both those roles and do them well. For a woman, there are different challenges, for sure. The barriers are starting to come down.
There are more female executives that can be mentors to young women coming up the corporate ladder, and that’s important. I think you have to have a mentor, you have to be able to see people who have been there, done that. They’ve been able to accomplish a successful career and manage a successful family. If I can be seen as a pioneer, and I can be that poster child for “and” not ‘either,’ ‘or,’ but, ‘and’ that will be a good thing for young women to know that they can do both and do them both very successfully. I have grown children now. I worked the entire time. I never stopped working and raising my children.