An exclusive Tech Tribune Q&A with Fran Duggan, the founder and CEO of Payrailz, which was honored in our:
- 2020 Best Tech Startups in Connecticut
- 2019 Best Tech Startups in Connecticut
- 2018 Best Tech Startups in Connecticut
Tell us the origin story of Payrailz – what problem were you trying to solve and why?
Payrailz was founded by payments and banking industry veterans who wanted to create a better payments experience for the banking marketplace. They took their combined years of experience in the payments arena, along with their experience working with financial institutions, and combined it with the latest technology to create a smarter and more engaging payments experience.
Today, digital is no longer an option. It is not about if you offer digital payments, but how you offer them. What sets financial institutions apart is the payments solution they offer and how it works for their end users. With more digital interaction, there is less personal interaction. Payrailz set out to create a digital solution that still maintains the aspect of personalization that adds so much value for so many.
The Payrailz platform leverages artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning to offer personalized and actionable insights to consumers and businesses as they make their payments. These insights help users proactively pay bills, save money, avoid insufficient funds, and even help to lower bills that might be too high.
Offering a better payments experience through financial institutions helps them drive value and strengthen relationships with customers or members. The mission of Payrailz is ultimately to empower financial institutions with the digital payment tools they need to be successful and better compete in a highly competitive financial services industry.
What was the biggest hurdle you encountered in your journey?
The biggest hurdle to starting a business or building a product is always time. It takes quite a while to get everything in place and ready to go to market. Many times, it’s tempting to jump the gun and get out there, but to make sure your business is ready, it takes patience.
It also takes time to gain awareness and acceptance. Again, it’s tempting to think as soon as you go to market that everyone should know your name and buy your product, but it takes time to earn the public’s trust and help them see your vision. Because it takes so much time, it’s easy to be hard on yourself and think you are moving too slowly or falling behind, but the truth is, you are probably moving at the right pace. Time and patience are key.
If you are able to stick with it, when your business does start to take off, things will all fall together. Our first clients really understood and believed in our vision, which made these relationships so strong. Others have since joined us in collaborative partnership, so taking the time and effort to make sure your message is clear ends up in more meaningful partnerships down the road.
What does the future hold for Payrailz?
We will continue to search for new ways to empower financial institutions and help end users better manage their payments. As technology is constantly evolving, we are excited to see how we can change and adapt to ensure we are always providing the smartest payments experience.
What are your thoughts on the local tech startup scene in Glastonbury?
We are proud to be from Glastonbury and are very proud of the technology scene coming out of Connecticut. Even though we are a small state, we are doing big things in fintech and technology in general and we hope these businesses continue to grow and thrive in our communities.
What’s your best advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?
Vision is important and the foundation that you build everything else on. Your product must achieve your vision. Your team must share your vision. Your partners must share your vision and help you achieve it. If you do not have a clear vision, it will be hard to make everything else fit together. When every piece of your company points back to that goal, there will be a synergy in your company that helps make it a great one to work for and with, and ultimately, a successful business.