New CEO Aran Brown vows to shake up travel and remittance following record growth

Aran Brown, new CEO of Ixaris Group, speaks about his vision and why Ixaris is ready to challenge travel and consumer remittance brands head-on.

What is your vision for the Ixaris Group? 
Ixaris Group has two growing, profitable businesses that are at the leading edge of their respective fields. Entropay is at the vanguard of b2c payments technology whilst Ixaris Technologies has a track record of innovation in business-to-business payments – with a very strong focus on the travel sector, an industry that relies on efficiency and cost saving and therefore very strong reasons for needing our technology.
Our ambitions don’t stop there. Over the next three years our ambition is to grow the business at scale to 10 times its current size. We have the technology, the people and the capabilities to make this happen – with Entropay, we’re already knocking on the door of the likes of Revolut and Monzo and are exploring how we can improve what they are offering consumers and businesses in Europe and beyond.
Similarly, with Ixaris, we see tremendous opportunity to take our supplier payments to new industry verticals with similar pain points as the travel industry where margins are low and spend is high. We’re also white-labelling our technology for banks and other financial institutions and have some exciting, big name, announcements to make soon. Watch this space.
What lessons can be applied from your experience at other payments businesses? 
Ixaris Group’s businesses have a wealth of opportunity and ideas. They operate in attractive, under-exploited markets with the potential to extend into adjacent industries. To a degree, Ixaris has kept its light under a bushel and the next phase for the business will see us unleash its potential. The secret to our success will be no different than it was in my previous businesses. Speed of execution, a single-minded focus on doing the right things well, and holding people to account and sharing in collective success – these qualities will ensure we build the business to the scale I know is possible in the next three years.
Why is travel an important focus for Ixaris? 
When it comes to transaction innovation, the travel payments market is large, highly fragmented and often overlooked. At the same time margin and competitive pressures are increasing for travel agencies and with regulators and airlines determined to crack down on what they perceive as an unfair burden of payment cost, there is a huge opportunity for us as a provider of flexible solutions to grow our business and serve both sides of the travel agency – airline divide. Addressing the need of agencies to improve their margins and those of the airlines to minimise cost of acceptance.
Ixaris already has the strongest proposition in the market, which covers both high rebate and surcharge avoidance capabilities and huge potential to grow. I’m a firm believer that only Ixaris is positioned to answer this with a win-win solution for both airlines and travel agents.
Why do virtual payments in B2B matter? What’s important about them? 
Commercial payment models are changing, and current platforms and legacy systems limit companies’ ability to take a flexible approach to addressing their payables spend. Current methods are costly, inefficient, highly paper-based and fragmented. It’s quite simply making the payments process even more expensive than it should be.
The new generation of virtual payments platform will allow corporate customers to fully leverage the credit lines extended to them and make all their payments in the most convenient and cost-effective way for them and their suppliers. Enabling them to pay suppliers using any funding source with any payment method while providing rich transaction data for reporting, reconciliation and analytics. Fund from credit line? You got it. Pay via crypto? You got it. Our new generation platform is payment source and payment method agnostic.

How is the geopolitical climate impacting payments? What opportunities is this creating? 
So much has been written and said about Brexit but even now we have no clear view of how this will affect European businesses.
Ixaris has twin centres in London and Malta (an EU member) so is well placed whatever the outcome. What’s clear is in any period of uncertainty that businesses take steps to prepare themselves for the outcomes. For UK businesses, Brexit may add significant cost to already tight margins as well as resource overhead.
With Brexit and a more challenging cross border trade climate, the travel industry is now in the firing line by the very nature of the sector. While we can’t help directly with the prospect of grounded planes and tailbacks at Dover, the new geopolitical climate is underlining the value and importance of advanced transaction technology in helping businesses navigate and overcome the legislative, logistical and cross border barriers that fall in their way. It’s a mission we’re committed to and something that we all feel proud to contribute to.

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