Adyen is a technology company that was initially founded in Amsterdam. The company acts as a middleman for payments between merchants and retailers to facilitate faster payments, without transaction fees and fraud. The company has managed to gain profits worth $155 million, with a revenue of $2 billion and assets worth $2.1 billion. All these accomplishments are thanks to the founder Pieter Van der Does and co-founder, Arnout Schuijff, who started the company in 2006. Pieter Van der Does has over 15 years of experience in the corporate world, but how well do you know him? Here are some facts about him that might interest you.
1. He was also the founder of Bibit
In May 1999, Pieter began a payment company, Bibit Global Payment Services, whose clients entailed large corporations like Microsoft and Dell. After some time, some of the founders wanted to exit, resulting in the sale of the company in May 2004, to Worldpay which bought Bibit for an estimated price of around €100 million. Pieter and some of his colleagues continued to work at Bibit as staff. However, Worldpay did not serve Bibit well, and as soon as the contract expired, Van der Does and the others left Bibit.
2. His company is a member of the unicorn club
A unicorn club is a group of technology companies that are said to be valued at $1billion and above; Adyen is now a member because it is valued at $1.5 billion. With such a valuation, it can operate globally and has different offices around the world, including in Singapore, London, Sao Paulo, and San Francisco.
3. He ensures the security of his customers
Generally, Adyen has an integrated system that enables the client's payments to be processed quickly and more reliable. Furthermore, the company has data-mining abilities that are more accurate as time goes by to combat fraud effectively. Finally, Adyen is the sole provider for many companies' transactions, and one financial administrator is at the helm of making it easy for them to monitor processes. Van der Does is open to the idea that companies will always be under attack, thus develops strategies that aim to avoid the worst kinds of breaches. The technique involves investing a lot to make sure that they can tackle any attacks or breaches as so as they are detected.
4. He was wise in getting the big merchants as their customers
Pieter accepts that his biggest challenge when starting was getting the big merchants on board to work with Adyen, particularly because big merchants couldn't trust or simply transfer all their revenue to a start-up business. Therefore, initially, they worked with so many small businesses. They then pitched the idea to some of the big companies who took five years to trust Adyen. On the contrary, it usually takes a lot more than half a decade to build such relationships with customers, so Pieter must be a patient man.
5. His corporate experience before Adyen.
From 1995 to 1996, Pieter worked in the finance department of ING Nederland before working at Elsevier on the Fast Track Management program from 1996- 1999. He then helped build the company Bibit in 1999, and in 2004, Pieter sold it to RBS. Afterward, he continued to work as the head of sales and account management for two years until July 2006 when he left RBS. He and his colleague, Arnout Schuijff, later formed Adyen.
6. He creates a friendly working environment for his employees.
Pieter adopted Dutch culture, which is an open culture in all the different offices worldwide. Generally speaking, in Fintech companies, it is very competitive and difficult to hire people; therefore, companies work hard to maintain them and the adopted culture. When a new person gets recruited by the company, they ensure that one of the board members welcomes him. For the other employees, they avoid the use of emails and encourage the use of cell phones just in case a person needs to get in touch. It makes the issue way easier to be solved, and the needs of the employees are effectively handled.
7. He is decisive
The management works with the human resources to ensure that their employees have the required skills and perform the role that they get assigned. Therefore, Van der Does constantly reassesses the employees mainly because, Adyen, is growing at a fast rate. A person who has qualified for a particular position in a company is not qualified for the same role three years later if he has not upgraded his skills. Similarly, Pieter advised on how HR should be proactive and make sure that the right people with the right set of skills get jobs that are ideal for them.
8. He has been featured in several magazines
Pieter Van der Does at the age of 50 was ranked number #1941 on Forbes list in the 2019 issue. He got classified as a self-made billionaire, and his source of income was software payments from his company Adyen. On July 18, 2016, Van der Does was ranked as number 50 by the Institutional Investor. At the time, the company had processed $50 billion payments in the previous year. Furthermore, Adyen had 400 employees and was working with over $4500 customers. Last year, Adyen was ranked number #1792 in the Global 2000 category of 2019, and the market value rank was #630.
9. What is his net worth?
As of March, Pieter's real-time net worth, according to Forbes magazine, got estimated to be $1.2 billion. Van der Does owns 4.8 percent of his company, and as of May 15, 2019, the market capitalization was at $22.2 billion. At the time, the company was 11 years old and had almost doubled its sales as compared to 2018. Furthermore, the company had booked $727 million in revenue and had processed $90 billion transactions.
10. His company is dependable.
What makes Adyen different from other companies in terms of dependability, is the fact that the company got built on a single platform. Secondly, they have more than 40% of engineers working every day to make the company better. Lastly, every week they bring new releases and different sets of functionality. Other companies have many different platforms that operate systematically; therefore, they waste a lot of time doing consolidations. When a problem occurs, they try and fix each forum. On the contrary, in Adyen, they do not believe in any mergers, and according to Van der Does, they spend their time helping their merchants.
11. He is competitive
The competitive landscape for Fintech companies is getting stressful day by day. Take a look at some of Asia's modes of online payment like Wechat pay and Alipay, which consumers use worldwide. These companies have a fixed method of payment, and not all the consumers can pay that way because, from the merchant's point of view, it gets more complicated. The currency and mode of payment in different countries have been made transparent to compete with such companies. Also, Adyen is agile, and for companies that are going for banks, they are at a disadvantage because some banks are difficult to accept change in the industry. Yet, Pieter is ready to do whatever it takes to make his firm the best service provider.
12. His educational background.
In1989, Pieter graduated from Clark University and attained a bachelor's degree in International Economics. Afterward, in 1994 he joined Universite` Paris I Pantheon in Sorbonne in France, where he studied International Economics. Later, Pieter enrolled in Harvard Business School's Executive Education undertaking RBS Senior Manager Programme from 2004-2006. He also got his master's degree in Economics from the University of Amsterdam
13. He uses his past experiences to be a better entrepreneur.
Van der Does learned a few things while he was still at Bibit that guide him through his time as CEO in his company. First of all, merchants love great interfaces. Secondly, when an intermediary connects to a master card or Visa, the quality of service is low; that's why Adyen took the initiative to eliminate them and attained their own Master and visa card licenses. He tried to connect to the central payment itself because if they are the only company in the food chain, the merchants earn 1% more.
In the case where companies use the old channels, merchants get fractioned out and reduce their chance of growing globally. Therefore, not having a wholly-owned chained and relying on others, for instance, banks will cause a lot of problems. Take an example where money gets transferred on a Friday afternoon, the transaction gets delayed, and the bank closes. Therefore, a company would have to wait for Monday to complete the transaction. As a result, this causes a lot of delays and uncertainty. Knowing this, Adyen recently got a banking license to have a bank account so that merchants can get their money instantly. As they trade, they see money getting into their bank account, and they have full control of their transactions as merchants.
14. He has strong communication skills.
As a leader, Van der Does should have strong communication skills, which he uses to do interviews and tell the world about Adyen. Moreover, he effectively gives his view of Adyen's potential and challenges. He is fluent in English and Dutch.
15. He thinks outside the box.
Adyen is not only limited to online merchants, but he also introduced payments for offline merchants who do not have their businesses operating on the internet. Adyen can now run in physical stores where they have terminal processors in each store for the retailer customers who are also paying through cards and any other form of electronic payment. Terminal processing of transactions allows a lot of customers to be on board with the idea because the store can go international without adjusting their mode of payment. Also, the merchants are confident with the faster transactions. Samsung is an example of a company that is using the Adyen point of service method of payment. Van der Does also ventured into other online businesses transaction like paying of tickets online by airlines such as Air Berlin and Easy Mexico. He also deals with travel agents like Booking.com.
16. He owns an online currency.
In 2017 Van der Does gave a talk at the Axel Springer Noah Conference in Berlin. He was questioned later on whether he had any Bitcoins, and the Adyen CEO owns a few.
17. He likes mountaineering
Van der Does has a life outside entrepreneurship and technology; he loves mountaineering, preferring to climb with friends, and ski down back. He even credits mountaineering for helping him build his company from scratch in the sense that at first, he felt like he was cheating going up the mountain on a helicopter then skiing down.
18. He has confidence in his company.
Van der Does is confident that the company can keep up with the rate at which it is serving the growing number of customers, and payments that Adyen is processing. They have a firm foundation in the large corporations that process the payments. Also, the fact that they are taking in more merchants with physical stores facilitates growth. They are also moving to different needs like in-store payment; Adyen helps relieve the merchants so that it is easy for consumers to buy online or buy instore. Therefore, the market is expanding.
19. Is his company a technology company or a financial company?
Adyen offers businesses a global platform where they can accept payments from anywhere in the world. It is a technology company because the company enables merchants to process payments online, on mobiles. It has a point of sale that has over 250 payment methods and 187 transaction currencies according to Pulse.
20. What is the best and worst advice he has gotten?
The best advice he has ever heard is that a person will always have more time than they think. The worst piece of advice is when he was told not to hire a person who had started learning java at forty years old, but the person ended up being among his best developers.
Written by Allen Lee
Read more posts by Allen Lee