He’s a people-first executive who leads by the motto ‘culture eats strategy for breakfast’.
How did Willie Pang find himself strolling the streets of Silicon Valley asking for start-up funds before leading Limepay into the future of FinTech?
If you've never heard of Sand Hill Road, it's the main corridor running through Silicon Valley in California. It's where you'll find the deep pockets of venture capital companies and ambitious start-ups asking for funding. Amazon, Microsoft and Twitter all received initial capital here.
With a brown briefcase in hand, Willie followed in the footsteps of Bezos, Gates and Dorsey, knocking on doors and seeking attention from venture capitalists. Willie was co-founder of Ventures in Digital Media, a business eager to stretch out beyond Australia into Asia-Pacific.
At the time, there wasn't an appetite to fund Australian businesses.
"There's been real skepticism about whether Australian technology companies can scale to tackle the global markets in Europe, China and the US," Willie says.
But that's changing. "The Atlassians and Canvas of the world have shown that you can build to global scale from Sydney, Australia."
Silicon Valley now sees Australia as an innovative tech hub.
The Limepay platform is architected with global scale in mind. But going from start-up to scale-up takes exemplary leadership.
Willie happily stands on the shoulders of giants. When he was at Yahoo, "Jerry Yang was a superhero to me – his journey of creating the company and fighting the death star that was Microsoft at the time." As an Asian entrepreneur, Yang was an especially poignant inspiration early in Willie's career.
"You need to behave like the company you want to be in the years to come. The defining factor of whether a business can scale and grow is about building the strongest leadership group and management capability."
For Limepay, that future transformation has meant operational discipline, a solid commercial focus on governance and risk management. All factors critical for a financial services technology company.
But when it comes to leadership, Willie is wisely aware that it’s all about people.
Willie believes kindness and respect matter, especially in a competitive world, where compassion often gets lost.
During his tenure at MediaCom, Willie created a 60/40 female-to-male organisational balance, a 50/50 management board, and completely eradicated the gender pay gap.
"The universal truth is that every business is powered by people. Whether you're two people or 2,000," Willie explains.
"If people are given freedom to create and are doing as close to their dream job as possible, then a business will go further, faster."
Willie leads by the motto “culture eats strategy for breakfast”. It's the combined values held by individuals that create culture and "strategy can never be executed if you don't have the right culture”.
At Limepay, those values include innovation. Innovation that is practical and results-driven. Innovation that solves problems.
As the new CEO, Willie is ready to pioneer opportunities and take Limepay to the forefront. "The entire FinTech space and BNPL is hot. It's in hyper-growth phase," says Willie.
But the opportunities that lie beneath are Willie's focus. "A moment of convergence is coming between the payment ecosystem and the customer experience ecosystem," he says.
The relationship between the payment provider and the merchant is changing in the world of payment solutions. It's no longer just a third-party offering transaction processing. The opportunity is in providing a complete customer experience solution that goes beyond checkout.
"I see us playing a broader role as an enabler by using technology to help merchants scale," adds Willie.
Limepay is one of the only providers in the world to offer merchants and customers an end-to-end experience.
Within ecommerce, Willie adds, "the digital transformation has occurred so quickly. There's been more change in the space of the last 18 months than in the previous ten years."
Many merchants haven't yet considered how their payment solutions affect their business. They haven’t looked deeply at the relationship between checkout and what customers think about the brand.
Checkout is a big part of the overall customer experience. "When you spend valuable time nurturing a relationship with customers, why would you send them to a third-party site?" asks Willie.
"As ecommerce has exploded, merchants haven't thought about how their payment ecosystem is contributing to how their customers think about them." Picking a third-party aggregator as a payment solution is an easy option, but it comes at a cost.
There's a huge opportunity to enhance the customer journey, strengthen brands and improve customer loyalty.
"All of these options live in one ecosystem under one brand for a holistic solution."
This is where Limepay plays an essential role in connecting and enabling brands. It allows merchants to better understand their customers and take the data they capture at a transaction level and apply it to every step of the customer journey, from driving personalisation to product suggestions.
For merchants seeking to grow their brand, shifting to white-label solutions isn't an if scenario but a when.
"We can play a role in driving the industry both here and around the world."