In the latest episode of Hipther Talks titled ‘Navigating Fintech’s Future: Compliance & Expansion with Nikola Tchakarov‘, Head of Market Expansion Nikola Tchakarov shares his insights on the topic. Read a written excerpt of the interview below.
Nikola, can you share a bit about your journey to becoming the Head of Market Expansion at Noda? What has been your most memorable experience in the Fintech industry so far?
I started as a sales representative at a printing company in Bulgaria. This is where I started gaining some experience in the sales field. I joined Language Bear – a content writing and translation company, a few years later. Together with the team there, we managed to take the company from only three people to about 20 and into the millions of turnover. This was where I got my first experience in business shows and expos, which have proven invaluable experiences, opening up countless professional and personal opportunities. It was actually at an exhibition where I met with my current CRO. After around three years at Language Bear, it was time to move on to something more challenging. This was when I contacted my current CRO to see if there was an opportunity at their company. As it turns out, there was, and here I am, a year later at Noda.
How has your past experience in sales and digital marketing informed your approach to market expansion at Noda? What significant changes have you observed in the Fintech landscape since you first started in this field?
Experience in sales and digital marketing can inform a results-oriented approach to market expansion. This approach involves setting specific goals and metrics for success and developing strategies to achieve them. It can also educate the importance of research and analysis in market expansion. This involves conducting thorough research to understand the new market, customer needs, and competition and using data analysis to develop effective strategies.
How does Noda distinguish itself in the highly competitive Fintech space? What are some innovative strategies Noda has implemented to stay ahead?
We have been at the forefront of the open banking movement, allowing customers to securely share their financial data with third-party providers. Noda’s open banking platform enables merchants to receive direct bank payments from customers via a secure and instant one-stop open banking payment solution as a card alternative, providing direct integration with banks in most European countries. This has opened up a new world of possibilities for companies, enabling them to offer more personalized and innovative services.
We have also adopted the white-label model to speed up market expansion. This model allows us to offer products under another company’s brand, creating a “triple-win” solution for all parties involved. This has helped Noda to expand its market presence and reach new customers.
And last but not least, we have a great team of experts developing successful strategies for entering new markets. This expertise has helped us to identify potential business opportunities and build relationships with key stakeholders.
As someone who has worked with diverse industries, how do you adapt your approach when expanding into a new market sector, such as iGaming, finance or retail?
When expanding into a new market sector, such as iGaming, finance, or retail, it is essential to adapt your approach to navigate that sector’s specific challenges and opportunities effectively.
A thorough research must be conducted to understand the new market sector’s dynamics, trends, and customer preferences. This will help in identifying potential gaps, competition, and opportunities.
Gaining a deep understanding of the target customers in the new market sector is crucial. This can be achieved through qualitative and quantitative research and direct conversations with potential customers. We can tailor our offerings and marketing strategies to resonate with them by understanding their needs, pain points, and preferences.
After analyzing our existing products, we determine how they can be adapted or customized to meet the specific requirements of the new market sector. This may involve developing new products.
Forming partnerships with local businesses or industry experts in the new market sector has proven to be an invaluable asset as well. These partnerships can provide valuable insights, distribution channels, and credibility. Collaborating with established players can help navigate the market more effectively.
Last, we continuously monitor the market, customer feedback, and competition in the new sector to be prepared to adapt our strategies and offerings based on the evolving landscape. Flexibility and agility are vital in staying ahead in a new market.
Can you talk about some of the biggest challenges in market expansion for a Fintech company like Noda? How does the company plan to overcome these hurdles?
Expanding into new markets can be challenging for fintech companies like Noda. Fintech companies must comply with various regulations and standards in each market they enter. This can be a complex and time-consuming process that requires expertise and resources. This can be overcome by partnering with local experts or regulatory bodies to ensure compliance and investing in compliance automation tools.
Also, financial institutions must implement robust security measures to protect customer data and prevent fraud. To overcome this challenge, advanced security technologies such as biometric authentication and AI-powered fraud detection must be adopted.
Raising funds for market expansion can be lengthy and challenging for fintech companies. Noda can overcome this challenge by developing a clear business plan, building relationships with potential investors, and exploring alternative funding sources, such as crowdfunding or government grants.
Customer needs and preferences vary significantly across different markets. Noda can overcome this challenge by conducting market research to understand customers’ specific needs in each market and by developing customized solutions that meet those needs.
Lastly, the fintech industry is highly competitive, and new players are entering the market daily. Noda can overcome this challenge by continuously innovating and improving its products and services, building strategic partnerships, and investing in marketing and customer acquisition.
How has Noda leveraged Open Banking solutions for online merchants and what impact has this had on e-commerce businesses’ growth and evolution?
Noda has leveraged Open Banking solutions to provide online merchants in Europe with a secure and instant one-stop payment solution that allows them to receive direct bank payments from customers. This has had a significant impact on the growth and evolution of businesses in the following ways by making transactions more secure. Open Banking solutions provide a more secure payment option for businesses. By leveraging Open Banking, Noda has created a secure payment solution that eliminates customers needing to share their card details with merchants. This has helped to reduce the risk of fraud and increase customer trust.
It also enables shorter payment processing times than traditional payment methods. This has helped to improve the customer experience and reduce the risk of payment delays.
Open Banking solutions can be more cost-effective for merchants than traditional payment methods. This is because Open Banking solutions typically have lower transaction fees, which can help merchants to increase their profit margins.
The technology also provides merchants with access to customer data that can be used to create more personalized and targeted marketing campaigns. This can help businesses to improve customer engagement and increase sales.
And finally, Open Banking solutions help businesses comply with regulations and standards related to payment processing and data protection. This can reduce the risk of legal and financial penalties.
How is Noda positioned in the Fintech industry in terms of responsible and ethical financial practices?
Noda is positioned in the fintech industry as a company that values responsible and ethical financial practices. This is evident in the company’s commitment to integrity and ethical behavior, collaboration with AI-powered transaction monitoring technology, Open Banking innovation, and payment strategies expertise.
Public speaking is a powerful tool for thought leadership. Can you share some key takeaways from your speaking engagements about payments and digital marketing strategy?
Regarding public speaking engagements about payments, several vital takeaways exist. Make sure to focus on the Big Idea. Focusing on the big idea that will resonate with the audience is essential. Expos want speakers who can provide valuable insights and actionable takeaways that can help their employees or customers.
It is also crucial to craft a compelling description highlighting the audience’s key benefits and takeaways. This description clearly communicates how your presentation will address their pain points and provide value.
And, of course, record your performance. Recording your performance can be a valuable tool for marketing yourself as a speaker.
Can you shed some light on how Noda plans to grow and evolve in the coming years? What are some of the key goals and milestones the company is targeting?
We plan entry into various markets, including Brazil, Australia, and Eastern Europe (starting with Romania and Bulgaria). Regarding Brazil and Australia, we are leveraging our Open Banking solutions to enter these markets. Open Banking provides a more secure, faster, and cost-effective payment option for merchants, which can differentiate Noda from competitors. We aim to revolutionize payments in these markets, enhancing the payment experience for merchants and customers. The plan is similar to our expansion on the Eastern European Market. We recognize the tremendous potential in the Eastern European market. The region is experiencing growth in digital channels and customers, creating opportunities for fintech companies like Noda.
Lastly, what advice would you give to those who aspire to make a career in the Fintech industry, especially in roles related to market expansion and development?
To make a career in the fintech industry, especially in market expansion and development roles, it is essential to start networking early, develop relevant skills, stay up-to-date with industry trends, gain industry-specific expertise, and be open to learning and adaptation.