• Collaboration at Stone & Chalk leads to innovative paytech partnership
• A million users can securely pay bills using ToPay within Today Australia app
• Bill payment product opens channel for merchants to promote businesses to app users
Stone & Chalk residents Gobbill and AirPay FinTech have forged a collaborative partnership that’s delivering a groundbreaking new way to pay bills within a Chinese Australian media app.
The fintechs have partnered to embed Alipay and WeChat Pay into the news app Today Australia to allow users to pay their Australian bills, using China’s favourite payment methods. The new product, ToPay, means more than a million users can pay bills in the Mandarin-language app.
Gobbill is a payment automation and fraud detection service to help small businesses and households save time, maximise cashflow, and protect against scams and fraud. AirPay FinTech provides a one-stop mobile QR payment and marketing solution from brick-and-mortar merchants to online retailers through point-of-sale and Shopify integration.
ToPay’s users will also receive rewards such as discount meals for the popular Asian food delivery platform, Hungry Panda. The innovative product — which could open up new revenue streams for Australian media companies — had its beginnings in early conversations between Gobbill’s CEO Shendon Ewans and AirPay FinTech’s Head Simon Tse.
Spotting a product and market opportunity
“Shendon introduced us to Stone & Chalk two years ago and afterwards AirPay moved in and began to grow as a resident. Shendon and I were always thinking about how to build a fintech product between AirPay and Gobbill,” says Tse.
“We used to catch up with each other in the common area and share news in the fintech space. We’ve also attended different Stone & Chalk workshops over the past two years, to share our insights with one another and discuss business opportunities. We have supported and encouraged each other, which has built the relationship between our fintechs.”
“Although we wanted to have Chinese payments years ago, finding the right partner and timing to do it was really a result of those tearoom conversations and meeting AirPay at Stone & Chalk,” said Ewans.
“Whereas we were at first watching each others’ companies from afar, discussions soon moved to a collaboration to combine technologies tapping into the market of Chinese Australian media consumers,” said Ewans.
Tse believes ToPay will be a key channel to drive one million Chinese customers to AirPay merchants. App users able to get promotions and offers easily via the media app, while merchants will be able to communicate with customers.
New partnerships offer path through slowdown
As for the impact of the coronavirus, both companies are realistic and resilient regarding the challenges facing the fintech environment during the pandemic.
“It is a harsh time for fintech start-ups, especially around getting funding, managing cashflow and controlling overhead,” says Tse. “It is challenging to get new customers, as many businesses will slow down or even shut down over the next couple of months. But it is also a prime time to understand your customers’ needs and help customers to come through this challenging period together.”
Tse said ToPay opens a new channel for merchants to promote their businesses to high-spending Chinese consumers. He said it also helps AirPay open new verticals, in addition to its wide coverage of high-end retailers, such as Gucci, Harrolds, Rolex, Paspaley, and sportswear retailers such as Sneakerboy, Off-White, Champion, and Glue Store.
Ewans said partnerships like Gobbill’s and AirPay’s could become increasingly important during the COVID-19 pandemic. “I would encourage others to look at partnership opportunities where you can pivot or grow new revenue streams. Now's the time to do this because other fintechs are also thinking ‘what do we do now?’. If you are able to put two capabilities together and you're able to tap into a new market, this is the right place to do it.”
“This collaboration is one example of the value that our Impact Network delivers,” said Stone & Chalk General Manager, Annie Le Cavalier. “The merits of a supportive community shine through in challenging times like this. There’s been no shortage of stories of our founders supporting each other, sharing knowledge, networks and resources and ultimately standing stronger together.”