Brian Williams is our Head of Customer Experience – we asked him to describe his career journey, and how he joined ID-Pal.
“Getting Started in Tech Happened Almost by Accident”
After school I took an admin role with a tech company and was drawn to the more commercial side of the business. For me the technology is secondary, it’s just an enabler for people – it’s there to solve problems – if you’re not doing that, you don’t have a business.
Since then, I have nearly always worked in technology companies and in increasingly commercial roles as my career progressed. Starting off in CARA Group (now BT Ireland), I studied Marketing at night to allow me to work in that area and when I moved as Marketing Manager to (what is now) Payzone, the culture of that organisation meant that there were plenty of opportunities to work closely with other departments in the business and indeed with new and emerging elements of the business in Ireland and oversees.
Payzone evolved from focusing on the sale of technology products and services into a Fintech company. While I was there we developed a range of payment products and services, including creating the model for prepaid mobile top-up, pioneering this technology in retail stores across Europe.
I was keen to get more involved in the business so I enrolled in Smurfit Business School and emerged with my MBA in 2001. I’ll always remember that year – in parallel with the culmination of the MBA, we re-branded the company across 6 countries and our first child was born.
Before I joined ID-Pal I worked for a company that provided low cost international calls, focusing on migrant communities needing a cost effective way to phone home. I was responsible for the Belgian market and particularly in the early years of that role I was a frequent visitor to Brussels and Antwerp.
Getting off the train in Gare de Midi, I parted ways with those from the Dublin flight who were travelling to the European Parliament or Commission, and I headed off to places like Molembeek and Schaerbeek, where at times you would find it hard to believe that you were in the middle of Europe. Especially in the summer, you would be forgiven for thinking you were in Morocco or West Africa.
I loved the vibrancy and the sense of community in those neighbourhoods. Most of my team were French speaking so I learnt just enough French to get by – within the context of our business. Once or twice I got a bit cocky and found myself in front of someone speaking at a rate of knots and realised how little I really knew!
When we launched in 2011 it was expensive to make international phone calls and a service like ours allowed people to make savings, being able to contact home was essential for our customers and the business was quite successful.
Towards the end of my time in that market, there was a gradual decline due to the introduction of services like Viber and WhatsApp. Within a year the market had been ‘disrupted’ and this lesson in business reality was one I learned first-hand.
Why Did You Choose ID-Pal?
By 2017 I wanted to get back into Fintech and I knew I wanted a company that was looking for someone to get stuck in and not just focus on one discipline. I took a little time to identify some companies I would like to work with and ID-Pal fitted perfectly – I reached out to the founders through some mutual contacts and was delighted when they agreed to meet me.
I wasn’t surprised by their passion or ambition – I had expected that. However, I was blown away by the clarity of purpose and strategy for such a young company. I also loved the fact that that despite everything going on under the hood, the product UX (User Experience) is really simple and easy to understand – I knew straight away that I wanted to be involved.
Awards & Partnerships
Even at that early stage, ID-Pal had won a European Award as the most innovative start-up company in the Merchant Payments Ecosystem. Also they had started developing business in the USA market which led to an exclusive fintech partnership in the Credit Union Industry with Sherpa Technologies.
People will benefit from using our product and I get a real buzz out of that. We have put a lot of time into the user experience of ID-Pal and my job is to ensure that users know how easy and intuitive our platform is for both the customer and the business.
Give me a call today on +353 86 830 9380 to find out how we can help your business to grow with digital identity verification or e-mail me at [email protected]