By: 5 September 2023

Thomas Jul, chief executive officer of Inpay, spoke to FinTech Intel to discuss cross-border payments, sustainable growth, and the Nordic concept of friluftsliv

An interview with Thomas Jul, CEO of Inpay

Thomas Jul, chief executive officer of Inpay, spoke to FinTech Intel to discuss cross-border payments, sustainable growth, and the Nordic concept of friluftsliv.  

Can you tell me about Inpay?  

At Inpay, we aim to democratise payments worldwide by making it easy, fast and secure to send money across international borders. Through our global network, our bespoke software technology and our approach, we are modernising the cross-border payments industry—a market where 97% of transfers are still handled through traditional, old-fashioned, slow and costly bank transfers. 

Inpay  has been named as one of the fastest growing fintechs in Europe, what has enabled this growth?   

I’m so proud of our success and can only attribute this growth to our brilliant people. Over the years, we have created a unique culture which empowers the individual and has led to a rise in efficiency and innovation. Despite the size and international reach of the business, I think we have succeeded to maintain a ‘start-up’ mind-set and the creativity associated with it.  

We are great supporters of flexible working and operate in quite a non-hierarchical structure, which is quintessentially Danish and creates independence and autonomy within each role. As a result, people love working here! They stay here and tell people about the business, which means we’re able to continually fuel our growth with a strong international talent pipeline. 

Can you tell me about the Nordic concept of friluftsliv, and how this translates to business? 

Friluftsliv is all about the wealth of benefits that come from spending time outdoors and around nature, for both your mental and physical health and wellbeing. Inspired by our Danish roots, we champion friluftsliv and encourage the team to pursue outdoor activities and keep healthy. Everyone has been given an Inpay-branded watch to track activity. We recently held a team building trip where we hiked the Atlas Mountains in Morocco. And there is also our annual island company event, where our employees hire an entire island in Denmark and host outdoor events and games. Not only do these foster fantastic team spirit, but there is evidence they have boosted productivity and engagement, which only helps our continued growth as a business. 

You have in offices in Copenhagen, London and Dubai and a network of more than 100 countries. Do you have plans to expand even more?   

It is fantastic to have more than 45 different nationalities represented across the company. It is something I personally really enjoy about our business. I’ve been fortunate to hold leadership positions at European PayTech, Nets, and multinational telecommunications company, Ericsson, as well as 15 years of executive leadership at Nokia. These roles have taken me all over the world including positions in Denmark, UK, USA, Germany, Austria, Canada, Indonesia and Finland. This means I’m very much at home with the global reach of our business. I really enjoy travelling to see our customers and meeting colleagues from around the world. 

What are the challenges of growing sustainably and maintaining a strong culture? And how do you overcome these challenges?   

We have been on a steep growth trajectory, and I don’t see that stopping any time soon. Historically, we have been careful to continue investing on our growth—in our team, our processes and our company infrastructure. We will continue to do so, and these investments will ensure that the growth is sustainable and does not impact delivery, quality or compliance at any point.  

“As an example, we refreshed our organisational setup in 2022 to sharpen our already strong focus on network expansion, compliance, customer service and development. We made significant investments into the organisation, technology and the leadership team. Our global network and outstanding compliance practices are also industry leading. I am proud to have been able to complement our group general counsel, Jens Heurlin, with Dr Camila Witt as chief risk and compliance officer, who brings with her a wealth of legal and compliance experience from the international financial world. 

What does the future look like for cross-border payments? Will companies, such as Inpay, continue to make it easier and cheaper to send money?  

At Inpay, we’re transforming the future of cross-border payments. We recently secured an Electronic Money Institution (EMI) licence from the Danish Financial Supervisory Authority, becoming the first Scandinavian fintech to combine EMI, PSP, and TPP. The new licence will enable the company to issue electronic money, facilitate digital payments and money disbursements, among other payment services and is a landmark for the business.  

Our mission is to democratise the international payments market, to continue making it easier and cheaper to send money across borders. I believe that both Inpay and other companies like us will continue to transform the payments industry, which is ripe for modernisation based on technology and new ways of working. 

Do you think foreign transaction fees could soon be a thing of the past?   

I see pockets in which this could be possible, but I am not sure this is the most urgent need. For the majority of transactions, the need for transparency, speed, security and affordability are the main drivers. Fast, safe and transparent cross-border payments hold value beyond price for the involved parties. And by eliminating cost and slow processes, we are already seeing a shift towards more affordable and cost-effective transactions. This trend will continue. 

Image: Inpay 

Josh Poyser
Josh Poyser is an editor at FinTech Intel. He has written about fintech for several years and appeared at FinTech Connect 2023 on the 'Unlocking Success: The Art of Fintech PR' panel.