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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 Wade Arnold, CEO and Founder of Moov, an embedded payments platform that has raised $77.5 million in funding.

  • Wade’s extensive experience in financial services, from helping pre-populate loan applications at Adobe to founding digital banking company Banno (acquired by Jack Henry) and bill pay platform Bilgo, which led him to create Moov out of frustration with legacy payment infrastructure.
  • The problem Moov solves: allowing SaaS companies to easily accept, store, send, and spend money in the US without having to learn the complexities of payments or integrate with multiple vendors.
  • The genesis of Moov as an open-source project on Wade’s personal GitHub account, which attracted hundreds of contributors and validated the need for modern payment protocols among developers.
  • The focus on vertical SaaS companies as ideal customers, such as construction management platform Built Technologies, which need embedded payments tailored to their specific industry rather than generic e-commerce solutions.
  • The incredible growth trajectory, from $100,000 in total revenue last year to over $40 million this year, and the challenges of scaling processes and infrastructure to keep pace with demand.
  • The milestone of becoming a US-licensed acquiring processor, issuer processor, and clearinghouse member, requiring $40 million in investment and certification from all four major card brands.
  • The pivot from a product-led growth strategy aimed at individual developers to an enterprise sales motion targeting decision-makers at SaaS companies, recognizing the high-stakes nature of payment decisions.
  • The importance of focusing on a specific customer segment and saying no to opportunities that don’t align with the company’s core value proposition, even if the platform is technically capable of serving them.
  • The challenge of creating a new market category around embedded payments as a service, which requires educating buyers and differentiating from established players like Stripe.
  • The success of developer-focused marketing initiatives, such as the 4,000-member Slack community and the Fintech Devcon conference, in building brand awareness and generating leads.
  • The long-term vision of becoming the market leader for embedded payments among SaaS companies in the US and eventually expanding to serve their international needs as well.

Actionable
Takeaways

Validate Problem-Solution Fit Through Open Source:

Before turning Moov into a commercial entity, Wade released the core payment protocols as open-source libraries and attracted hundreds of developers who confirmed the need for modern tools in this space. Founders can use open-source projects to test demand and gather feedback prior to building a full-fledged product.

Tailor Your Solution to a Specific Customer Segment:

While Moov's platform is capable of serving a wide range of businesses, the company has focused on vertical SaaS companies as its ideal customer profile. By tailoring the feature set and go-to-market approach to this segment, Moov can differentiate itself from generic payment providers and deliver more value to its target users.

Adapt Your Sales Strategy to the Decision-Making Process:

After initially pursuing a product-led growth model aimed at individual developers, Moov realized that payment decisions involve multiple stakeholders and require an enterprise sales motion. Founders should align their sales strategy with the buying process in their target market, even if it means pivoting from their original approach.

Educate the Market to Create a New Category:

As a pioneer in the embedded payments as a service space, Moov has invested heavily in developer education and community-building initiatives to raise awareness and establish itself as a thought leader. When creating a new category, founders must take on the responsibility of educating buyers and evangelizing the benefits of their approach.

Balance Feature Completeness with Speed to Market:

While Wade suggests that he might have spent more time building out the platform before engaging with customers, he acknowledges the pressure from advisors and investors to validate the business model early on. Founders should strive to find the right balance between product readiness and speed to market based on the needs of their target customers and the competitive landscape.

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