Mango: The Latin-American Startup Transforming Online Payments
When talking about how Mango tries “to simplify online and mobile payments in Latin America” Pablo Sánchez, CEO and founder of the company along with Juan Rossi Jonathan La Banca and Ignacio Ricci, uses analogies: “When PayPal was the leader in the US in terms of online payments – it obviously still leads people-to-people payments – the segment of companies and organizations needed another set of solutions. That’s when such companies as WePay or Stripe were created; and that’s our goal: we want to be the spearhead in that process in Latin America.”
Officially launched on December 1st in Argentina and in beta mode in Brazil and Colombia, Mango is defined as a set of technological services and tools that help companies and organizations accept online payments in an alternative way, different from such consolidated regional players as MercadoPayment or DineroMail.
Previously, Mango staff members had spent nearly four years working to develop platforms and applications for third parties, until they detected the niche:
“After nearly four year of work for different clients we decided to develop our own product and offer it to companies and organizations in Latin America. We changed our course in September 2013 and started working. There was a lot of research to be done in the region in order to identify existing solutions and new possibilities. In late 2013 we closed a small investment round with relatives and investing angels from San Francisco and Europe, and that gave us the opportunity to spent all this time working to launch the product” Sánchez says.
The CEO analyzes the scenario of online payments in the region and points out that there are different levels in terms of the relation between companies and online payments. “You have companies that have just started and they are facing their first experience with online payments, they don’t have volume or a great amount of transactions, and they don’t completely know how the whole circuit works. It’s easier for them to use the services provided by DineroMail or MercadoPayment, companies that have a giant umbrella and deal with millions of different transactions” he comments.
According to Sánchez, after some time, those companies grow up with their online business and particular needs come up. That’s when they want to measure how their online business works, the level of conversions and the behavior of clients.
“The companies in this segment realize that using tools provided by third parties that interfere or interrupt the payment process experience, might have a negative impact on sales, mainly because users see a third brand they don’t know and it stands in the way. In that moment, they are afraid of making transactions because they don’t know it or they do, but they don’t want to have any contact with that third brand” he expresses.
Pablo Sánchez, CEO and founder of the company along with Juan Rossi Jonathan La Banca and Ignacio Ricci.
A second problem is related to the image.
“With those giant companies, sometimes you take users away from the website where they are buying and a whole new look and feel is shown. Many users take it as a psychologically sort of alert because they have been redirected to a different place”. Mango detected that this segment of companies was looking for a tool to fulfill its needs. In that point, the alternatives don’t seem to be very flexible.
“They are more interested in generating their own branding, instead of the market need at experience level. There are higher demands (the system must able to deal with a significant number of transactions at the same time, with a powerful infrastructure so the system is 24/7 functional, security, etc.). Sometimes they decide to keep on using tools that make things easier at the beginning or they understand their need for other tools that accompany them throughout the growth process, thus putting aside the tiresome matter of payment online.”
Couldn’t these companies just buy or develop an ad hoc online payment system? This might be an appropriate question for those who know the market, and Sánchez answers it.
“Implementing other solutions that can be acquired in the market could take 3 or 4 months of work, but with Mango it’s only a 30-minute process. If it is a more-complex development, we’re talking about days, one week, two weeks. There is a huge difference. The heads of technological departments usually believe that implementing new products could take months (6 months to one year). Perhaps it’s true when it comes to implementing a CRM, but our solution is different. We want to change that belief” he emphasizes.
On the technical side, Mango is defined as a REST API, a group of programmatic modules that allow developers to easily implement – with just a few programing lines – the system to take payments on their website or mobile app.
“REST API means that you can implement it in a transparent way. The final user that works with the system never leaves the application or the website, the developer sends us – by means of a code – the necessary data to make the transaction and nothing else. The clients don’t have to open a Mango account to pay and they are not redirected to our website. It’s a sort of white mark that avoids the presence of intermediaries and guarantees technical robustness” Sánchez points out.
As for the services, the tool supports the administrative process behind the online payments. “It involves the whole process to be carried out by a company in order to be able to operate, which entails obtaining a commerce number to operate with each credit card, having the paperwork and legal requirements in order for the credit cards to operate, etc.”
Sánchez and the rest of the team explain that they have worked on the development of the product and the obtaining of an international certification that backs up the efficiency and security of the payment process. “The norm is PCI (Security Standards Council), validated by a US council and all the credit cards. It certifies that your company safely manages the data of customers’ credit cards. It’s very complicated to obtain and just a few Argentinean companies have it. We’re very proud of it” he says.
Shortly after the launch, the results are already on the table, especially with positive repercussion in Brazil and Colombia. “In a short time we already have hundreds of users created on the platform, developers, ecommerce clients, tourism, insurances, etc. mostly in Argentina. We were surprise by the number of companies from Brazil and Colombia that contacted us, many Colombian entrepreneurs told us that they were looking forward to having solutions in the region, similar to those used in the US in terms of payments. The receptiveness undoubtedly went beyond our expectations in those countries. We’re working to keep on increasing the number of companies at all levels, as well as entities” Sánchez added.