Melbourne startup Assembly Payments wins big in fintech sector

Darren McMurtrie, Simon Lee and Simon Jones, Co-Founders of Assembly.

When Melbourne consultant Simon Lee first had the idea to improve online payments he did not expect it to turn so quickly into an international success with officers across the world and a partnership with one of the world’s largest classified sites.

Indeed his company Assembly Payments, formerly known as PromisePay, has taken the entire fintech industry by surprise.

Since it was founded in Melbourne in 2013, Assembly Payments has grown from its three founders—Simon, Darren McMurtrie and Simon Jones—into a fintech powerhouse, with nearly 100 employees spread out from St Louis to Manila.

Putting customer experience first

Lee believes the success of the company comes down to its customer-orientated approach to payments.

“We didn’t start with payments, we started with creating the best experience,” he explains.

“The fact was, online and mobile commerce may have sparked a total business revolution, but it had created painful, uncertain experiences amongst the millions of people who were now dealing with others they had never met, and were never likely to meet.”

Assembly Payments provides customers with a platform that makes online transactions easier, safer and more flexible. The idea is get rid of common doubts like “How could we trust this person to pay? Would our money ever arrive on time?” says Lee.

When a customer makes a purchase, the funds are escrowed until the transaction is successfully completed. These kinds of safeguards help protect consumers against fraud and other security risks.

The goal is to “systematically remove the barriers standing between so many businesses and their money,” explains Lee.

Global approach

This customer-friendly concept has helped the company made headway. Company revenue has increased by 25 per cent month-on-month over the past year, the team have raised around A$13 million from investments and they now work with more than 100 clients across North America, Asia Pacific and Africa—an achievement Lee attributes to “thinking globally.”

“We’ve considered ourselves global and Australian from day one. From our base in Melbourne, this thinking opened massive opportunities for us both at home and abroad,” he says.

Partnership with Gumtree

Just this February Assembly Payments entered a partnership with eBay-owned Gumtree which will extend its services to South Africa.

Under the partnership, Assembly Payments will be used for a new marketplace called Gumtree Connect to help smooth online payments for the 6-million strong community of users.

This is a big win for the Victorian startup. The partnership is the first the eBay group has entered into since it divested from PayPal in 2015 and places Assembly Payments at the heart of the fast-growing payments sector.

Reflecting on this recent success, Lee says it’s about “Persistence, never giving up and sticking out with your goals and believing in yourself. Belief I think is really powerful.”

As for the future, Lee is excited about taking Assembly Payments to the next level.

“We believe the potential of bringing payments online is so much more than moving money from one place to the next.”

“(My vision) is to dismantle the old and broken payments systems and build a world where any organisation can use payments however they like, to not just move money, but to build better experiences and better businesses.”