Chase Harmer has been an entrepreneur since the age of 19. He started building technology almost 8 years ago, and is now the Founder & CEO of PayCertify, a globally connected FinTech marketplace that makes it easy to pay and get paid.
What do you do differently?
Our biggest competitor is Stripe, which is seen as a payment infrastructure for the internet. When you think about processing payments, you think of Stripe. At PayCertify, we want to be the card issuer for the internet. That means that when you think about issuing virtual cards and issuing payments, you think of us. Our approach to the market is different from Stripe. They go for payments first, then pull you into the rest of their ecosystem from there. We start with issuing, because we know that everyone who sells something online needs to spend money to do that. So we let you issue payments and earn 2% unlimited cashback on all spend for any campaign anywhere in the world.
Who would benefit from using a system like PayCertify?
Agencies, affiliates, brands, and influencers are all ideal users for us. These are people who spend a lot of money online. While they’d usually do this with a debit card, they can actually connect their Amex to their PayCertify account and earn rewards both through Amex and through us. This lets them make easy payments all in one place while getting a lot back.
What was the biggest sacrifice you had to make to get to where you are today?
The irony of business is that you have to give everything away before you can make money. I could’ve made millions just doing what I was doing before. Instead, I decided to build something from scratch because I wanted to bring my ideas to life. I bootstrapped the first $2M of our company. It was tough. Everything I did earn went straight back into the company to help it grow. We just got a valuation of $280M, so it feels like it has paid off. I’m really proud of the work we’ve done.
What’s been your biggest challenge in running your own business?
For me, the biggest challenge was managing people. When I know what I want, I know how to execute on it and I do so quickly. But not everyone feels that way. Some people want to understand everything before they act. They have questions or concerns. They want to take time to process before acting. I needed to grow my sense of empathy and understand what they needed so that I could manage them most effectively. I think that’s part of the journey of being a CEO. You have to learn to operate beyond your own comfort zone and find ways to lead that work for the people you’re leading.
What exciting projects are happening for you right now?
We just signed a deal with Illumy, an all-in-one messaging platform that combines text, audio, and video messages in one place. We’re working with them to provide payment processing for their user base. It’s a wonderful opportunity to position ourselves at the forefront of communications going forward.
Otherwise, we’re focused on continuing to integrate with popular platforms to allow people to engage with customers and make sales on the platforms their customers already use.