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Sept. 2, 2020

Richard Kopman On How The Customer Payment Experience Can Increase Profits and Business Value (#20)

Richard Kopman On How The Customer Payment Experience Can Increase Profits and Business Value (#20)

"My most important role is the CEO of this company is finding good people to join our team" -  Richard Kopman 

Richard Kopman, is cofounder of the FinTech startup, Pllenty Inc. and serves as the chief executive officer. Richard plays an integral role in Pllenty's product, business development and strategic planning.

Kopman is a 25-year veteran of the IT industry and has worked with clients in a wide variety of sectors. He has a hand on approach to managing client engagements. Kopman believes in the value of the customer experience.

Firms who work with Kopman can expect a creative visionary who hits the ground running, identifying and capitalizing on the potential and untapped verticals, and crafting positioning strategies that create competitive distinction, and galvanize exponential growth in revenue and account capture. 

Kopman's gift for networking and client relations has consistently proven vital in securing prestigious new clients at the Fortune 2000 levels, such as CIBC, RBC, TD Bank, Scotiabank, National Bank Financial, Citi Bank, Hydro One, Bank of America, Macy's, and Walmart to name a few. 


  • Why it took Richard two decades to solve a painful problem in the world of customer payment
  • The gap that Plenty fills for both businesses and not-for-profits
  • How Plenty works with small organizations and large multinational companies
  • The challenges with payment processors like Stripe and PayPal
  • Why being online today is not a luxury but a necessity, especially with COVID-19
  • The power of the omnichannel to offer payments through email, chat, SMS, social media, and the web
  • How Pllenty filled a market void by giving a businesses' customers choice for how to pay
  • Why Pllenty chose Amazon Web Services for its back-end data storage and cloud access
  • How to make it easy for a business to create a market disruption in international markets
  • Richard reveals the industry secrets that processors don't want you to know
  • Why Pllenty is transparent with its billing
  • Richard talks about his decision to ensure Pllenty's integration is painless and with no costs
  • How COVID-19 has reduced the reluctance to do things in a different way
  • Richard shares how Pllenty works with not-for-profits, such as churches, to boost fund-raising
  • How Pllenty integrates with Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat, and YouTube
  • Makeing clients' branding a top priority at the expense of having no Pllenty branding
  • Richard's beliefs on why customers can leave without penalty or commitments
  • How Pllenty achieved a customer churn rate of 0.005%
  • Richard's belief on why his most important role is finding good people to join the team
  • The importance of surrounding yourself with smart and talented people

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Pllenty's website

Richard Kopman on LinkedIn

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Steve Wells: [00:00:00] This is Steve Wells.

Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:00:01] And I'm Jeffrey Feldberg. Welcome to The Sell My Business Podcast.

Steve Wells: [00:00:06] This podcast is brought to you by Deep Wealth. Are you a business owner who is wondering how to either grow your business, sell it, or both?

Or maybe in today's environment, you're wondering how to make your business pandemic proof. Visit to find out how you can master the strategies to grow and extract the deep wealth from your business. Visit

Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:00:26] Welcome to episode 20 of the Sell My Business Podcast. This episode will be another solo run as Steve Wells continues to take some much-deserved time off.

Today's guest is Richard Kopman, who is cofounder of the FinTech startup, Pllenty Inc., and serves as the chief executive officer Richard plays an integral role in Pllenty's overall product, business development and strategic planning.

Kopman is a 25-year veteran of the IT industry. Having worked with clients in a wide variety of sectors, specifically North American banking and financial services. He has a very hand on approach to managing client engagements and truly believes in the value of the overall customer experience.

Firms who work with Kopman can expect a creative visionary who hits the ground running, identifying and capitalizing on the potential and untapped verticals, and crafting positioning strategies that create competitive distinction, and galvanize exponential growth in revenue and account capture. Kopman's gift for networking and client relations has consistently proven vital in securing prestigious new clients at the Fortune 2000 levels, such as CIBC, RBC, TD Bank, Scotiabank, National Bank, Financial Citi Bank, Hydro One, Bank of America, Macy's, and Walmart to name a few.

Richard welcome.  I know our listeners are in for a real treat. Now I have to be honest with you. When I first began to look at online payment and processing. I just thought it was same old, same old until I spoke to you. And that's when you opened me up to a whole new world of what should be going on out there that isn't except for what you're doing. And I know a Deep Wealth, we talk about two things. In this pandemic we talk about how you need to pivot and generally speaking pandemic or not how you need to look for market disruptions. And from our point of view on either side of that, the ability to reach out and make it easy for customers to pay is paramount.

In the pandemic today, going online is not a luxury, it is now a necessity, but I'm getting ahead of myself. Richard, why don't we start with hearing your story and how you started Pllenty and what that's all about.

Richard Kopman: [00:02:51] Great. Well, Jeffrey I'll start and thank you for having me on your podcast today.

 I will say that your comments are certainly flattering and more importantly, it's always nice when someone understands the vision that I started with and takes an interest as this is something I really like to talk about.  To start with, you know, really from a perspective of, where this came from and the genesis of Pllenty, my vision was something that I had experienced for a couple of decades.

My client base, which was predominantly financial institutions in the US as well as Canada. From a standpoint of seeing these clients and being on their sites and in their call centers, it was eye-opening to see the struggles they have as there were football fields for all sorts of major banks across the country.

 Those football fields were predictable dialers and calling and strategies that were so antiquated. It was always a very adversarial environment between them and their customer.  I spent over two decades seeing a situation. Improving the payment experience is very critical. And I didn't predict COVID-19, but really from a Pllenty standpoint I saw and my partners have helped me execute, a platform that fills that gap by really making it a more positive experience. And we found that from a standpoint of whether it's a not-for-profit, auto finance, paying your utility or cable bill, is that if you make it more amenable for a customer to pay, the likelihood is going to be greater. And even more so to a company, as opposed to having an employee call someone ten times and irritate them over dinner, is that if you communicate them in other ways that are much more friendly and adoptive is that your human capital cost is going to go down as well.

So that’s the tip of the iceberg that got us started.

Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:04:50] Well, it's a terrific and humble beginning from what you shared with me offline, but let's get one thing straight. In your intro you've mentioned some fairly large companies. But I know with what you're doing and for our listeners, this isn't just for big institutions or large companies.

You can have a smaller business all the way up to a mammoth of a business, Pllenty is so easy for smaller businesses to midsize businesses who don't have a dedicated IT team, or don't want to do a lot of integrations or spend the time and money doing that.

It's easy. So why don't we get that off the plate first in terms of why you don't need to be a large multinational business to have a robust online payment system.

Richard Kopman: [00:05:37] So that's a very good point and we learned this with our not for profit business, as a lot of them are small organizations and especially in the religious non-for-profit space, we have churches and dioceses that have parishes across the country that are really ranging from massive to very small. And it’s important from a software as a service perspective that our go to market strategy didn't exclude anyone. So out of the box, it's a solution that works. We have a dashboard that has single sign on and really requires very little administration all the way on the other side of it, where we support some of the largest multinational companies in the world.

So, the thing is, is that as far as our core market, we want to ensure that this was something that was accessible to all sizes of customer. 

Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:06:33] If I'm already with an existing processor,  two of the more popular ones, say I already have PayPal or Stripe  and quite openly when I began looking at where we are as a company here at Deep Wealth and what our needs were, I thought, okay, I guess it really hasn't changed since things started back in the 1990s onwards, but a revolution is taking place out there in online processing.

For businesses that big or small already have an online processor, why would they want to change? What would they get with you that they're not going to get elsewhere?

Richard Kopman: [00:07:07] That's a great question. In almost every circumstance, when we approach big or small clients alike, they are already processing payments today.

So, our value proposition, isn't the fact that we can process payments. I mean, as a secure and compliant PCI service provider, meaning that we adhere to all the federal regulations around card payments and security. It's not about that. That's a very important piece, but that could be offered by every major bank.

The issue that we saw was that payment processors like Stripe, or PayPal, which is more of an intermediary to get to the card, is it offering a direct payment of what's in someone's wallet and in their pocket is very key. So, what we did, which was unique is we integrated into the omni-channel. Meaning that we've provided an access point for every type of customer that our clients have.

If someone wants to use live chat or sending a mobile message and email or social media, we've heavily integrated payment to every channel. And that's really where we get the adoption of our customers, where they say, well, we're with Stripe and we can take payments over the phone and we have a payment page on our website. Unfortunately, today that's not enough.

If you're going to push out to your customers and you're going to blend with your brand in a way that's going to be very customer friendly, especially with COVID-19 where things have become incredibly digital around payment. You need to find ways of reaching people and allowing them to pay in the way that is going to be adoptive to them. So being fast, easy, and convenient is really where our platform stands out, comparatively to what's in the marketplace with payment processing. The one thing I'll add to that is that the payment processing space when I looked at it really lacked innovation. The financial institutions today, they rely on two things from a revenue standpoint, and it could be Stripe or the largest banks and its interchange, which is the transition action fee for every card type, whether it be Visa, MasterCard, or American Express.

And then the other side of it, it's the rental of point of sale terminals, which have become more and more obsolete during the pandemic.

Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:09:30] So, let me get this straight because you've shared a few things. You said payments through email, through your phone. I'm going to assume through a computer as well. How, how do you integrate all that?

Perhaps if we take the vantage point of a small to midsize business who doesn't want to get caught up in a large and expensive integration.  What would that be like if you can walk our business owners through how you integrate within their existing systems.

Richard Kopman: [00:09:56] So from a standpoint of, we have a team they're certainly all, very well acquainted with our platform from the very beginning as we follow AWS cloud standards to the highest degree from compliance, security, and redundancy. So that means that our platform can be used anywhere in the world, but from the very beginning, we made sure that it was easy and turnkey to utilize this in any way.

So, we'll use, mobile messaging as, an example messaging as part of our platform, we have the ability to send out one or a million mobile messages for our clients. And within those messages is an embedded link to a branded mobile application. So, it doesn't require any downloading or installing.

It's very similar to something that recently has gone to market for Starbucks and Netflix, it's called progressive web application. So, it looks and feels and behaves just like an app, but it allows someone to utilize it without downloading or installing, or having any firmware requirements or going to an app store.

So, it means that someone can click on a link, right from a mobile message that comes from our platform. It's completely customized that message. And from that link, it's PCI compliant, secure, and safe, but it fits around a company's brand. So that's just one of many different ways that our customers utilize our platform.

But the point is that our clients don't need to develop anything. They don't need to integrate. Right off the bat that works seamlessly. If they choose, we have web service API, we can integrate with everything from SAP to every loan management software. To even some stuff that's particular to the Catholic church, which is called DDMS, which is diocese database management systems.

So, we don't have any problem. We have a team of 15 that just handles integration, but we have many clients that use this and manually input the data. So, we send reports every day in a format that they can upload into their systems. And from an accounting perspective and a backend standpoint, they don't have to integrate, but on the front end, there really is very little that our clients have to do from everything from design to implementation to how they're going to utilize the communication tools.

The point is, is that they're giving their customers choice. And that's really the gap that we're filling that's missing in the payment space.

Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:12:27] Firstly, a few technical terms for our listeners who may not be familiar with them. You mentioned AWS. Why don't you explain what AWS is and why you chose that as the storage and the backend for your systems?

Richard Kopman: [00:12:42] AWS is Amazon Web Services and they are the gold standard. Now, as most people are familiar with the company, most business owners are familiar with their cloud service offering, which is called AWS. The reason why we chose it is not just the strength of security and compliance, which is really important when you're handling card data in different countries, especially the United States, but really more importantly, the fact that we can build it out in any country from a global basis.  As we expand as a company, to Europe in the middle East, you know, other areas of the world, Amazon Web Services allows us to have the reach, to be able to offer our service and our platform anywhere. And from a secure and reliable standpoint with an organization that today is one of the largest companies on the globe.

Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:13:40] And so let me ask you about that because at Deep Wealth, and when our business owners go through the Deep Wealth Experience, one of the things that we encourage them and not only encouraged, but insist that they look at is number one, their business model.

And then number two, how to create a market disruption, because we know when you create a market disruption, you're doing two things as a business owner. Number one, you're finding a problem, a painful problem that hasn't been solved. So, you're helping people which as business owners and entrepreneurs that's really what we're all about. So, you're helping people, but at the same time, by creating a market disruption, you're opening up the next chapter for your business. And today, especially with the pandemic, the next chapter for your business may not be local.

It may be international. So, from that standpoint, Richard, from customers who are going to be outside of the country, what does that look like for a business that's using Pllenty and what kinds of payments do you take?

Richard Kopman: [00:14:41] So we accept every card type in the world. So, as I mentioned previously, what’s in their pocket doesn't just pertain to the United States. It pertains to any country.  Many of the Asian countries, where WeChat is very important or Alipay. Every country has, very different payment habits in terms of payment type.

So, we ensure that our platform is fully able to accept payment types based on the country that we're in. Second to that. It's also the consistency of the type of solution. When we talk about value, the problem that we've dug into has only exploded unfortunately, with COVID-19.

One of the key problems that companies are having is getting payment.  Many people in the world that have lost their jobs. There are many people that are having trouble feeding their family. So many different things that COVID-19 has impacted as it relates to people and how they pay.

So, if you add on to that, that you're going to make it adversarial with them and difficult, the chances of getting payment are going to diminish incredibly at a very rapid pace. Inclusive of that, that, your employees are now working remotely.  Look at global enterprises like, they have 150 offices and their employees.

Aren't going to be back to work as they've just recently stated in the news until July of 2021 at the earliest. So, your employees now more than ever, if they're calling someone and asking for payment, need tools at their fingertips that are going to give them strength in communicating with their customers when they're asking for things.

So, an example would be is that if you're in Dubai and you want somebody to pay their utility bill or their internet services, you're going to need more than just calling them and sending them a letter. Our approach through the omni-channel on the front end becomes very critical in that sense.

So, we're integrated in Facebook, just as much as someone can tap and scan on a letter with a QR code. And those aren't meant to be technology jargon for the sake of being innovative. These are impactful things that people have already adopted to. So, everyone knows what a QR code is. It's native to every device, whether it's iOS, whether it's Android and every bricks and mortar store.

And they have been for a long time. But all you have to do is point your camera at it and make a payment with our platform. That one little piece resonates across so many different business types that we work with. It's almost like a perfect storm that we've come into with a solution that is more topical than it ever has been.

And the thing is we never would wish for this on the world. But I am certainly very proud that we have a solution that fits with the climate that we're living in that can help people. And certainly, more importantly, help organizations have a better relationship with their customers.

Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:17:45] Wow. There's a lot to unpack there. Before we go back home here to the US let's revisit internationally.

Part of my frustration as a consumer, if I'm buying something that's outside of the US dollar, I'm not quite sure what that's really going to cost me whether that's in Euros or Pounds or whatever the case may be. On the Pllenty platform. do I see what the actual cost is from my currency, as opposed to what the foreign currency would be?

Richard Kopman: [00:18:13] So we have  quite a few customers, especially now in the, not-for-profit space, as there's been all types of natural disasters that have taken place over the last few years, especially in India with flooding and you see it on the news very frequently that we don't live in a bubble.

The world is a very small place and international payment has become core to our platform. So for our customers that are in the US or Canada, but happen to have outreach and to other outlining areas, across the Atlantic,  whether it be Europe or the middle East, we convey very clearly in our interfaces of what that international fee is as Visa, MasterCard, and the card brands generally have fees that are associated with international payment.

If it doesn't originate from that country, we're very clear on that. We believe in transparency with our platform, as our clients are dealing with our customers, especially around cost. Upon checkout or confirmation of that payment, everything is very clear in what currency, but also the entirety of the cost.

And that's very important in all aspects of our business.

Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:19:29] Let's talk about transparency. I know for an example, here at Deep Wealth, within the mergers and acquisitions industry there's lots of industry secrets that business owners aren't aware of. And when it comes to selling your company, what you don't know can and will hurt you.

And so a Deep Wealth, what we do is we expose what those industry secrets are, and not in a negative way, but to say, okay, if you know that these are here, here's how you can both protect yourself and also leverage this to maximize the value in your business when you go to sell your company, I would imagine that the mergers and acquisitions industry isn't alone.

Richard Kopman: [00:20:08] So it's very interesting that the payment space has been very much vilified for lack of transparency. It's an industry that is transaction based on the processing side predominantly even though our model extends beyond that. All the major pain processes in the world really rely on lack of knowledge of what those fees are.

So, it's called interchange and it really is a percentage of each transaction. So whether it's a debit card, whether it's a credit card, whatever bank it's from, each one has a different percentage associated with it, what payment processors do and the real secret,  which is becoming more and more apparent to the average consumer or business owner, is that they make it very hard to understand what that cost is.

The average merchant gets a statement every month. Very large payment processes, make it very hard to read and understand what that cost is. So, they add all sorts of fees and bundle them together. So, someone can't figure it out. It's almost like hieroglyphics that it's so hard to understand what the cost is that they just go along with it.

The first thing we discuss before, anything else with our customers is that we'll analyze their statements. Our finance team will take a look at them. We'll tell them exactly what they're paying today. And we follow a model called interchange plus. It means that we show them exactly what the cost is from the car brand and what the additional fee associated with us would be and in total, what they're paying on every transaction.

That's a rarity that you don't see very often in this space. It's been a bad practice that these payment processors have been allowed to, take advantage of for a long time. And it still hasn't changed is that they prey on the fact that people don't know and we've taken the opposite approach, especially in a not for profit space where we're looking at long-term relationships with our customers and inevitably, they can go to another payment processor tomorrow. If they're not happy, there's no contract or paper, that's going to tie them to us, but they appreciate the fact that we're open and honest with them. And not only are we sharing our pricing but we're showing them exactly what it is from the get-go.

And we're even guiding them of what they've paid before and giving them additional knowledge, even if they decide not to go with us. And in the long run, it's a business practice that has done as well, because even if we didn't get that client initially, Down the road they ended up coming back to us because they found out on their own that they were paying fees they had no idea which were double or triple what they were budgeted for. And they appreciate the fact that we help them.

 Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:22:57] In the spirit of transparency, Richard, to put you on the spot, I'll ask this question in terms of your services, it sounds like there's a tremendous and extensive backend that you provide.

So, how do you compare to the other fees that as a business owner, I'd be paying to another processor?

Richard Kopman: [00:23:19] Well, the first component is really the most important, which any major payment processor, including the ones you've mentioned, isn't going to do any integration.

It's not in their business model. They're looking for high volume of transaction and they're not looking to do anything on the backend. So, it's why I decided that we would invest in having our own in-house development team that are focused just on that. So that alone, the fact that we even offer that to integrate seamlessly into their systems is a value proposition that's very rarely even in the marketplace. The second piece is we don't charge for that. It never made sense to me, for the decades that I worked on all kinds of integration products with SAP and Oracle, it never made sense that I work for organizations that charge for that when it's the stickiest relationship you can have with someone.

When you integrate with a customer, you become so close to their data and their systems and their workflow. I never understood the idea of charging for that. So, we offer our development team, our resources, the integration, for one reason, you're not contractually obligated to us in any way. There is no term.

That means that you can go elsewhere as I mentioned before. The best thing we can do is integrate and have that type of trust with our clients. And the truth is, is that not only don't we not charge for it, but we do all types of custom dev work into, even proprietary systems that are specific to an industry.

For one reason, it's a good business practice. It creates a good relationship with our customers and it's very long-term thinking.

 Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:25:02] I'm wondering, and I'm sure the listeners are wondering with all of that said, it sounds like you're not charging some fees that others would charge.

The day to day transactions, would I be paying any more through Pllenty than I am right now?

Richard Kopman: [00:25:14] So it depends on how you utilize our platform. It is predominantly a pay as you go platform. They are some very minor upfront fees associated with design, white labeling, and implementation.

But the truth is, is that they're nominal comparatively to anything that a company has budgeted for. But the truth is, is that our platform is predominantly pay as you go with no monthly minimums, no subscription for a reason. Is that if our clients are succeeding and I'll give you a couple of examples.

So, whether it's accounts receivable, management, and that they've now brought down their human capital costs and they're collecting more at a faster rate and in a better way with their customers, then we win. They're utilizing our platform and there's certainly revenue coming to us. It doesn't make sense to hold someone to them, monthly minimum, or a standard because of our platform isn't working, we shake hands and walk away.

And I think that's a better business practice. In addition to that, as far as extra costs, as opposed to a payment processor, our interchange costs are very fair, as we're offering a different solution, that's beyond payments. There are other transaction fees if they use them. So, whether it's a QR code or a text message, all the communication pieces, 5 cents for a chat or 10 cents, for a mobile message, we charge transaction fees that are related to that. And that's a big difference, but you got to keep in mind that. The people we're competing against in the payment processing space, aren't even offering those pieces.

So, you're only paying for what you use, which is most important, and it's a very nominal transaction fee.

 Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:27:04] When we look at the pandemic and I would say Richard, you more than most because of your back-end integrations with the businesses that you're working with, the pandemic has been a game changer.

And even as we record this podcast, the new normal, whatever that is going to be, whatever that looks like, the rules are being written every day. So for our business owners at Deep Wealth that we work with, they're trying to figure out how not only to survive, but to thrive. And we work with them in terms of preparing their business now, So that when they're prepared and they're ready to exit, they'll be the first in line and be able to get the highest possible value. But I'm curious from your perspective, what's changed out there in the business landscape because of the pandemic, specifically as it relates to business owners and what can they be doing about that?

Richard Kopman: [00:27:58] Well, you know, what's changed the most. It's been gradual since March and as things have got considerably worse and there's been more quarantine and everyone expected this to end, there's a attitude now that this isn't going away. Anytime soon, we started educational webinars as a company in the not-for-profit space over the summer for that reason.

And we found that the resistance to change has gone down considerably amongst the people we speak to. So, during these webinars, which are interactive and allow people to ask questions, and they're not meant from a sales perspective, they are strictly for education on our work, in the NFP space. And we're going to expand that into other areas of business that we're in today, is that we're finding that the reluctance to do things that are different is really gone away.

As revenue numbers are starting to come in. the summer has been incredibly painful, painful for a lot of different organizations. And as I mentioned, particularly, not-for-profits, we're finding now more than ever that there's a very positive attitude towards being flexible and agile and making changes that are going to improve their business.

We're overwhelmed now as a company in terms of work. And we never anticipated that it would come like this, but we're certainly, as I mentioned, pleased that we have an offering that's going to help these businesses stay afloat. Especially in the not-for-profit space. And the truth is, is that giving is a business, just like anything else.

They have employees, they have office space. They have all these things that a privately or publicly held company have. And the truth is, is that they're attitude has changed considerably because the money is not coming in. So, the idea of thinking of different ways they can approach their audience, whether it be a donation or any type of payment, everyone's become much more agreeable to finding other options.

And I think really that's been the most compelling thing I've seen, especially over the last two months.

Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:30:12] Let's talk about that for just a moment. And for our listeners today I want you to really pay attention to this. As a business and as a business owner, at Deep Wealth, we feel it's our responsibility to find a painful problem and to solve it.

That does a few things. As I mentioned earlier, number one, you're helping people. You're creating value in the market, but you're also creating value for your business itself. And Richard, we didn't intend to talk about this, but you bring it up and I'd like to find out a little bit more. And for those listening, I promise you, I don't work for Richard or Pllenty we're independent, but what I hear more and more what Richard is doing, is just a good news story and some best practices that we can all learn from.

So, it's no secret that the pandemic decimated non-for-profits. And especially if you go to places of worship and you had mentioned some churches and some archdiocese earlier on in our interview. People weren't showing up. They couldn't because of the quarantine. And even now with the social distancing, it's a challenge.

And as organizations depending on donations, this was bad news for them. So, how have you been able to, if I can just use that analogy, be the white Knight and just ride in and save them. What did that look like when you're working for the churches as an example, although it can be any place of worship, what did that look like for you, Richard, with the churches and what have you done now to make them more hip, perhaps for people to be able to pay them. And just as an outreach for donations, what's changed for them now because of working with you?

Richard Kopman: [00:31:52] Well, the church is very, unique in the sense of they came to us many years ago, the Catholic Church, particularly, which started us down this road with religious not-for-profits and now it's included the Anglican Church and, it's expanded over many different religious not-for-profits. But really from a standpoint of using the Catholic Church as an example, they came to us initially many years ago with the fact that the Sunday offering would come along. Someone would pass the collection plate.

And people just don't carry cash on them today. And they didn't have a business solution for that. And through some networking and word of mouth of the work that we were doing they came to us and they said, we heard of your solution. And we'd like to see what it can do for us.

So, we came up with a way of implementing our QR code in all aspects of whether it be a book of hymns that sits in a Pew or on the collections plate. On their websites on their mobile application and as well, parishioners having magnets on their fridge and stickers that when their neighbors are over, they can tap or scan on that and give a donation.

So, it started with a fact that a cashless based model was something they needed because people just didn't have cash and were giving less. So, when they came to us, they were at a 15 year low in terms of donations, which is very remarkable, especially for the Catholic Church that's done very well over the years in terms of fundraising.

So, when COVID-19 hit, it just changed completely in the sense of the urgency. Once the parishes had to close, they were still paying rent. They were still paying utilities. They had very senior parishioners that weren't going to come back anytime soon and still haven't come back.

It's just a fear of getting sick. it's really triples and quadrupled our business with them just for the sheer urgency that they need a way to keep the lights on.  With the Catholic church, every dime goes to the different offerings that they have, whether it's painting widows’ houses, rebuilding a church, feeding the poor.

So, the fact that they don't have money coming in has created this urgency that we happen to have a platform now that is not only credible, but well known amongst their peers. So, from an inbound standpoint, we're getting so much uptick in terms of not just responsiveness, but them approaching us in the sense of saying, we need to get this implemented immediately.

The fall is coming or certain holidays are coming and we need the ability to get donations. And the fact that we can do it turnkey and that within a week to ten days that we can have them up and running has made it incredibly compelling. So, I appreciate your comment of us being the white knight, but really, we've been very lucky.

And as you know, within business is a time and place are a big part of the success of a company and a little bit of luck. My partners and I, and we've executed on a vision that I always believed very strongly in, is that the fact that we're living in a world where the churches like many other not-for-profit businesses are struggling.

And the truth is, is that we're ready to deploy a solution that's going to help them instantaneously, which is all they want to hear.

Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:35:33] It's a great example, Richard of a win, win, win for the people who want to donate and want to give you've now made it easy for them, for the churches as you mentioned, or any not-for-profit, it's keeping the lights on and an outreach that just makes it easy. And it's fascinating to hear it and congratulations on having the uptick in donations and then on the back end, you're helping everyone else first and foremost. But at the same time, it's also like helping your company to prosper, get out there, come up with some more innovations and succeed.

And that's really the way that it should be so a big congratulations on that.

Richard Kopman: [00:36:10] Thank you.

Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:36:11] So from the not-for-profits, let's go back to social media.  With the pandemic social media now more than ever has become important for businesses.

It's a great way to reach your customers, get the message out there, but also becoming increasingly a terrific way of selling your services. So, how does that work now with Pllenty and social media? You had mentioned Facebook, but if we took some of the, at least here in North America, some of the larger platforms, Facebook or Instagram, even Twitter, what does that look like for you in terms of integration from a business owner's perspective?

How does that work?

 Richard Kopman: [00:36:51] We launched this about two years ago and it's called Pllenty Social Exchange, and it was really a matter of that. Like anything. We listen to our customers and I think a lot of technology companies have difficulty doing that. They go to market with solutions to be innovative without listening.

As a team we do a really good job of going to market with stuff that fundamentally is going to fill a void. Almost every one of our customers has millennials in their customer base and really from a client perspective, their struggle is that generation of customer changes their phone number changes their email is transient. Their address changes very often. So, when they are wanting them to pay for whatever reasons, whether it be donation or a payment on an overdue bill, is that it made sense that one thing that they do not change is their social media presence. They keep that consistent across the board.

So, we integrate into Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat for a reason because we never understood the fact that you can be on Facebook messenger, but there's no real ability for company to facilitate payment securely on a social media page.  It was something that was needed, but has been ignored, and really from a disruption standpoint, I'm always a big believer in tackling fundamental to business problems that are in the world that are just not being addressed.

And whether it's an underserved market or it's a platform, it's the same idea is that we've now made it easy. If somebody is, and we'll use Facebook, if someone's on a charitable organization social media page or they're on YouTube, made it easy for them to make payments. And the thing is, is that it just supporting another channel that a whole generation that's growing and is massively representative in the marketplace is that we've now opened that channel. So they have an access point that's adoptive to their payment needs no different than having Chat Pay, which is our integrated, chat experience with payment is that we're trying to support methods of payment and communication tools that are already out there in the marketplace that people are using, but we're making it safe and secure for them to pay.

And social media is a big part of that.

Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:39:23] That's terrific.  As I hear your story and what you're doing, and I put myself in the shoes of our business owners. Number one there's no, excuse not to be online. As I said earlier, it's no longer a luxury. It's a necessity. And now that you're online, there's absolutely no reason why you can't offer payments across all the online channels.  When I'm going through a payment through Pllenty does the customer know the difference or does it look like it's the actual business that they were just on the website or on their YouTube channel or on the Instagram? What does that look like?

Richard Kopman: [00:39:59] So our design team is in house and it's again on the front end, one of the most critical pieces of how we implement and integrate with any company. So, we represent significant brands that their branding kit and the look and feel is the most critical of how their customers experience. So our design team works with all of the colors, fonts, and every access point, whether it be chat, whether it be their web page, whether it be the mobile application for complete a white label experience, as proud as we are of Pllenty as a company and all of us certainly have worked very hard to build it.

We understand that our clients do not want to see our name anywhere. They want to see their brand and their customers want to be reflective of where they make payment. Our job is to keep it secure and safe for facilitating that payment, making the experience very positive.

But as far as branding and credit, we want to make sure that it's seamless around our customer's brand.

Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:41:04] Richard, it almost sounds too good to be true. So, what's the catch?

Richard Kopman: [00:41:11] Well, the thing is, is that the reason why, and I'll go back to my initial comment about not obligating anyone to use our platform. So, we keep the upfront costs very minimal. If none at all. In addition to that, it's transaction-based with no commitment and a customer can leave us at any time. Our churn rate has been less than a half of 1%.

And the thing is, is that we keep our customers for a reason. For the right ones, meaning that we're doing a good job in offering our solution. So, we don't rush and say, you have to sign up by today. You have to commit. We walk through our customers potential and current with every aspect of what we do. So, it doesn't come off as too good to be true. We're very thorough, not just from onboarding, but before that, we walk through, as you've seen it yourself in very thorough detail of what our platform can do. It's not vaporware. We show real live business use cases. In addition to that, we're very clear on what our platform can achieve. So, we want to make sure that we're not pushing our customers into anything and that we're completely upfront about everything that we can do for them.

We don't make promises. and under deliver, we make sure that from the get-go that any client that we're working with has a clear understanding of what we offer and where the value is. I take no offense if someone says to us, it's too early, this isn't for us. Or we just want to process payments the way we are today.

But the truth is, is that a lot of people are looking for change and we've hit on something that most organizations in the world aren't touching. And again, it goes back to my comment of time and place.  When I used to attend conferences before the pandemic, the most common question I've had over the years is why didn't someone else come out with this first?

There's never a good answer for that is that I was looking at something as. I mentioned, it shows you how long it took me. I was looking at the same thing and it still took me 20 years to figure it out. My partners and I have executed something that really, we had no idea at the time how important it was going to be.

 I always stand by what we do, but that doesn't mean it's for everybody. At the end of the day, I would find that our audience continues to grow. And when I say audience, I mean business types and there really isn't a client type, whether it be B2B or B2C that doesn't see value in some way of utilizing our platform.

Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:43:53] It's a terrific story. And I have no doubt that the story is just beginning with good things ahead for you. So, Richard, as we begin to wrap up, I'd like to ask you a question that I ask every guest on the podcast and your answer could be either personal or business or a blend of both. And the question for you is this, as you look back to your achievements and your accomplishments to your lessons learned, if you could only pick one thing that you would tell your younger self to do either more of, or less of, what would that be?

Richard Kopman: [00:44:32] That's a great question. So, I'd say a couple things. One thing that I've learned more than anything else is that I'm now 46. I turned. 46 in June. And I would say, to my younger self, as I did try some entrepreneurial work in my late teens and early twenties, and say that if I did this then, I would have had a great deal of trouble succeeding.

When you're an entrepreneur you need a lot of people that trust you that are going to come along with you for the ride to help you execute on this.

I have excellent partners. I'm not an autocrat. I have a board of directors. We've brought on many board advisors from Fortune 2000 companies. All of these people have been critical of us succeeding and it's not something my younger self would have been able to achieve. Because at that age, you just don't have the network trust and business experience to see that.

You know, my most important role is the CEO of this company is finding good people to join our team. And the thing is, is that our board advisors have opened us up to some of the largest not-for-profits. One was a former CIO of the Red Cross to some of the best business people from capital markets who've helped us from an investment perspective. So, the thing is you need all these pieces.

My partners are just as committed as I am, and they have sacrificed enormously to help me, build this company. And the thing is, is that that's not something that you have the aptitude or experience at a young age that I realized now that I might not be as pretty as I used to be.  If you take the facetiousness aside is that life experience has been something that's helped me enormously over the last seven years, cultivate a group of people that have helped us succeed, which is probably the most critical thing of where we are today.

 Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:46:33] Wonderful insights.

And for our listeners take note and internalize that and replicate that because success leaves clues and you just heard a path for success. It's certainly helped Richard and it'll help you. So, Richard, as we now wrap this up and in the show notes, we'll put a link to Pllenty. If somebody wants to find you online, where can they do that?

Richard Kopman: [00:46:56] So it's very easy. It's Pllenty with two L's. There's only one of us and it's  We have a great customer care and support team,  whether it be by phone, chat, or email you can reach out to us and we'd be happy to consult with you at no charge and talk to you about your business problems.

we have a great team that really gets involved and gets her hands dirty. no pun intended, but really from a perspective of, we're always happy to just answer some questions. It’s not what's in it for us. I think it's a great business philosophy to try to help others. And we certainly are trying to do the same during this challenging time.

Jeffrey Feldberg: [00:47:39] Richard spoken like the true leader that you are. I want to thank you not only for your time today, but for your insights and sharing stories and taking us on the journey that you've gotten to today and also what's ahead for you. And I wish you only continued success and good things ahead. Thank you so much, Richard.

Richard Kopman: [00:48:00] Thank you, Jeffrey. And I appreciate you having me today and, it's been a very engaging discussion.

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