As of 10 Aug 2022, we are pleased to announce that Andrew Marchen has been appointed our Co-Founder. He joins former COO and current CEO Hiro Kiga as Co-Founder.
With over 20 years of experience in the tech industry, Andrew Marchen joined Wallex early in our journey to lead the Tech and Product team where they have built a leading FX solution for small-medium businesses in Asia. He has been an integral part of Wallex from our early days to Series A to acquisition, so here we ask him more about his journey so far and what he is excited for!
What interested you to join Wallex? Even being an early angel investor from the get go?
I believed in the vision, plain and simple. Aside from that, having good chemistry with the founding team is important - I felt that they were incredibly passionate and smart, while I complemented their aptitudes with my tech background.
Personally, I was keen to be part of a fintech startup after years of building my career in the corporate world. Wanting to take that leap helped me make the decision to join this wonderful journey!
What initially attracted you to the field of B2B cross-border payments?
With critical innovations, such as e-commerce, smartphones and faster internet, the world is becoming smaller and smaller.
Businesses need to evolve. Competitors become collaborators, vendors become partners and customer demand becomes more sophisticated. Cross-border payment in this case - will become the enabler.
From a B2B standpoint, the SMEs are not getting the most attention from the banks - they are getting high fees, subpar services and uncompetitive rates.
The UK and US are starting to have startups that are working on this issue. Thus we are excited and committed to tailor this solution to fit the demand in Asia.
Share more about the Tech stack behind the Wallex product - and the rationale!
From an infrastructure level, we prefer to design a cloud-based solution. They are typically easier to scale with managed services, so that we don't need to hire all the experts for every discipline.
We further believe data is an invaluable asset. Prior to working on any tech solution, we need to identify how we can make use of the data to measure the success or even use past data to help us design a solution.
We also can't forget security. It is crucial and a never-ending journey. There will always be new threats and we can never be complacent.
What has been your focus as CTO?
My focus as Wallex's CTO is definitely to lead our Tech & Product team to build the best solution for Wallex's customers (through collaborating with other departments).
We have many brilliant people in the team - and it is my job to create an environment where everyone can thrive, contribute their ideas, as well as have healthy discussion and collaboration.
After all these years, I still enjoy 'suffering' together as we crack our heads to tackle and overcome any technical issues.
How did your career and experience help you pick your team members across Wallex's offices in Singapore, Indonesia and Hong Kong? How did you build your team remotely across these countries?
Tech communities have always been a part of my social circle. Being an Indonesian who lives in Singapore, I have access to those talents and we started with building the Singapore and Indonesia tech team.
Eventually, we expanded to have teams in Sri Lanka, China and India. As most of us are working remotely, we prioritise having a very good communication channel and method. We don't necessarily micro-manage; to us, it is more important that you can achieve the objectives.
Lastly, I always wish to give opportunities for my team members to grow. I find it important to learn how to manage 'geniuses', allowing them to flourish.
With Wallex and M-DAQ joining forces, how shall the combined synergy improve both parties in terms of innovations?
This is great news for us - as M-DAQ has always been a great partner for Wallex prior to the acquisition. The combined expertise and know-how will open up opportunities to design more innovative products for our customers. For example, Wallex services such as local collections can add value to M-DAQ's e-commerce merchants.
Now officially becoming a co-founder, what excites you about Wallex’s future?
This will serve as additional motivation to bring Wallex to the next level and there is no better time for this to happen. Being part of the bigger M-DAQ family, I am sure there are plenty of opportunities that we can explore and advance together to create new demand for our customers.
What’s your vision for the future of B2B cross-border payments?
Easy-to-use, faster, cheaper, trackable. Expect more sophisticated products for SMEs such as forward contract and financing.
There is endless opportunity for automation to reduce our cost and pass the savings back to our customers and partners.
We certainly hope that our collaboration with M-DAQ can fast-track our vision to be the leader as the all-in-one financial management platform for SMEs.