Business Features Business

Nouse speaks with… Yoyo Chang, CEO and President of Kodypay.

The third-year Accounting, Finance and Management student at York is making serious waves in the highly competitive fintech industry.

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Image Credit: image credit: kodypay.com/press

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Image Credit: kodypay.com/press

Business Editor Barney Andrews investigates what underpins KodyPay’s upward curve of progress, the role of the university in the app’s development as well as Chang’s personal views on the importance of sustainability and why he thinks students will flock to his platform.

1)     What sparked your interest in fintech?
My interest in fintech came first from an interest in finance. I was lucky enough to receive mentoring from an ex-VP at JP Morgan when I was 13, who taught me how the markets moved and how to trade stocks. Fintech soon overtook this once I realised that I could leverage skills learnt in finance to solve problems faced by people on the daily.

2)     How have you raised capital for investment in KodyPay?
Back in 2018, I kickstarted KodyPay’s journey by investing £120,000. This got the ball rolling. About a year and a large number of investment roadshows later, we raised the sum of £1.8 million in our seed round. Cognition Foundry and Hank Uberoi led this financing round with other high-profile private investors. Those investors include former members of senior management from Legal and General, Verifone and HP. I am grateful for the investor support which has allowed the KodyPay journey to continue.

3)     How is KodyPay different from its main competitors, for example, YoYo Wallet?
Yoyo Wallet is not actually a competitor since it is simply an e-wallet. KodyPay performs a different function. Users are dissatisfied with the complex payment system, on the merchant and the customer side. So KodyPay is designed to deal with POS (point of sale) as well as payments. My goal for the company is to facilitate all digital checkout flows: click and collect, mobile self-checkout, table ordering and over the counter. These flows are currently disjointed, and consumers are desperate for one app that can be used everywhere. We also provide customers with access to alternative payment methods such as Apple Pay, AliPay or ‘pay later’ providers such as Laybuy or Klarna. That is what KodyPay delivers; a combination of payment and point of sale facilitation.

4)     How has the University of York helped in the development of KodyPay?
The University of York has helped me personally as well as the company overall. My supervisors have offered me endless support and advice as I have led the company. The University has introduced KodyPay to lots of high-profile alumni, some of which are now vital members of our team. In 2019 the University of York facilitated our trial run, which was in turn very successful. They have also offered to assist KodyPay in preparation for our upcoming campus launch.

5)     What has been the impact of Covid-19 on KodyPay, are you disappointed it has had to be delayed for its trial run at Nisa and campus stores or has this given you more time to develop the app?
Coronavirus has actually accelerated the development of KodyPay. Now more than ever, the world has recognised the need for speedy, contactless and cash free spending. Although society has slowed, it has removed distractions. Yes, it may be difficult with restrictions delaying a physical launch on campus, but we, of course, understand that this is for the best. Both the University of York and my team at KodyPay have already adapted well to the circumstances, and I am sure we’ll be able to make KodyPay’s UoY launch a success.

6)     How do you think students will respond to KodyPay?
Everything about KodyPay is designed to make student life easier. It will allow students to shop confidently during the coronavirus pandemic, by encouraging social distancing and removing the need to touch other POS apart from your own mobile devices. With KodyPay, students can use their preferred payment method to pay in all stores and restaurants on campus. This is particularly important for international students, especially Chinese internationals, as KodyPay incorporates Alipay. KodyPay is also environmentally conscious. I wanted to create a product that reduces the consumer/merchant’s carbon footprint, and KodyPay does that. Paper receipts won’t be printed, as all e-receipts are stored on your device. The long-term aim is to remove all bulk hardware such as tills and card terminals, which contribute heavily to greenhouse gas emissions. So, I am confident that students will respond positively.

7)     Do students form the bulk of your workforce and do you recruit mainly from the University or further afield?
Yes and no. Most of our staff are York alumni, but it hasn’t been an intentional decision. KodyPay recruits through a combination of agencies, our website, and via headhunting. I aim to have a truly representative workforce across all sections of society. Diversity maximises opportunities to achieve our goals by developing the very best talent. People from different backgrounds, ages and experiences are essential to growing a team with a vast array of ideas. If we were to only recruit students, the perspective of KodyPay would be drastically limited. What I look for in an employee is their individual skills, not whether they are studying or not. Experience, understanding and excitement for the company is key.

8)     A year on from your first interview with Nouse, (20th November 2019) what do you feel has been KodyPay’s greatest achievement?
I would say my personal highlight was when IBM called KodyPay an industry leader during an interview with Mr Tom Rosamilia last month. It was a great achievement for me and the company to be recognised and regarded so highly by such a major organisation.

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Image Credit: kodypay.com

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