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Welcome to another episode of Category Visionaries, the show that explores the future of tech with innovative B2B founders. In today’s episode, we’re speaking with John Lunn, CEO and Founder of Gr4vy, a payment orchestration platform that has raised over $27 million in funding.

  • John’s extensive experience in the payments industry, from helping start CyberSource in 1997 to spending 14 years at PayPal, including founding the venture capital arm of the company.
  • The wild west nature of the early days of internet payments in the late 1990s, with pioneers inventing new solutions on a brand new medium and navigating the challenges of adapting legacy systems.
  • The problem Gr4vy aims to solve: simplifying the complex world of payments for retailers by providing a tool that allows them to easily add, remove, and change payment methods, route transactions, and expand into new countries without needing a large payments team or custom code.
  • The frustration with the slow adoption of payment innovations due to the difficulty of rolling out new solutions in a multi-provider environment, which inspired John to create a platform that makes experimentation and integration much easier.
  • The evolution of Gr4vy’s ICP to include not only mid-to-enterprise sized retailers looking to expand geographically or increase payment options, but also the shopping carts and other service providers that cater to these merchants.
  • The importance of positioning Gr4vy as a tool to help payments teams move faster and innovate, rather than as a replacement for their roles, to avoid resistance from potential buyers whose jobs might be impacted.
  • The account-based, enterprise sales model focused on a small number of high-value clients, with an emphasis on working closely with customers and becoming an integral part of their team.
  • The definition of Gr4vy as a pure-play, cloud-based payment orchestrator offering infrastructure-as-a-service, which sets it apart from other providers in the category.
  • The impressive growth trajectory, with transactions doubling month-over-month and revenue tripling in the last quarter, driven by a focus on solving specific problems for targeted clients and growing with existing customers.
  • The long-term vision of becoming the go-to starting point for retailers worldwide when it comes to integrating with the payment ecosystem, serving as a trusted central hub for managing payment types and providers.

Actionable
Takeaways

Solve a Real Pain Point:

Gr4vy's success stems from addressing a genuine frustration in the payments industry - the difficulty of adopting new innovations due to the complexity of integration. By focusing on a problem that John experienced firsthand, the company has been able to create a solution that resonates with its target customers.

Adapt Your ICP as You Learn:

While Gr4vy initially targeted mid-to-enterprise sized retailers directly, they soon realized that the service providers catering to these merchants were equally important partners. Be open to refining your ideal customer profile based on market feedback and opportunities that emerge.

Position Your Solution Carefully:

When selling a product that could potentially disrupt existing roles or processes, frame it as an enabler rather than a replacement. Gr4vy positioned itself as a tool to help payments teams move faster and innovate, rather than as a threat to their jobs, to reduce friction in the buying process.

Prioritize Depth Over Breadth in Enterprise Sales:

Instead of chasing after every potential lead, concentrate on a smaller number of high-value accounts and invest in building strong, collaborative relationships with these clients. Becoming an integral part of their team and growing together can be more effective than spreading yourself thin.

Differentiate Through Architecture:

In a crowded category like payment orchestration, technical differentiation can be a key advantage. Gr4vy's cloud-based, infrastructure-as-a-service approach sets it apart from competitors and aligns well with the needs of enterprise retailers, helping the company carve out a unique position in the market.

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