PROFILE: Harald Dahl-Pedersen, CEO of Optin Bank
After many years of banking and finance, it was time. For years Harald Dahl-Pedersen had been working on the idea of building a completely new type of bank.
In March 2017 he finally got the opportunity: This would be the starting point for a partner-focused, technology driven bank – Optin Bank, a serious challenger to the established players in eCommerce financing.
Harald is the CEO of Optin Bank and knows the finance and banking industry by heart after almost three decades in companies such as American Express, Citibank and Santander Consumer Bank. In Santander he was deeply involved in a 10-year growth process including the acquisition and integration of GE Money Bank, where he held the position as Nordic Director of Business Development, Organization & Cost.
“Changing and creating sustainable companies, organizations, products or partnerships is what really inspires me – and for the same reason also where my experience lies”, he says. “With Optin Bank, we aim to redefine how eCommerce financing is delivered and perceived by merchants and end-customers alike. We are creating a better solution for the customer and stronger financials for our partners. These two goals are both realistic through the use of new technology”.
Huge potential in new technology
Having worked in executive positions with large banking structures, he has seen tremendous potential in using technology to develop a sustainable competitive advantage for a new player in the eCommerce segment. “Platforms without legacy, supporting a new level of agility that enables technology to act as a catalyst for commercial growth for our partners is definitely the future of eCommerce. And for Optin Bank, I might add”.
When Harald Dahl-Pedersen met with two of the founders and investors of Optin Bank almost two and a half years ago – it was a perfect match: “We had the same strategic vision and partner focus. The founders bring extensive international background from retail and e-commerce, coupled with the experience of being on the receiving end with the partner in e-commerce, and myself bringing in banking, operational and strategic expertise. Our ideas aligned and we both saw that this was a very good match. Since then we have worked hard, long days to get to where we are now, with great rewards for all involved”. he says.
A unique proposition for partnership in the eCommerce space
“Our ambition is to become a leading contender to the established players within eCommerce financing. Optin Bank will provide financing for eCommerce partners and their customers, allowing for immediate payments to the merchant and partners, while also offering flexible payment options to the partners’ customers in a simple and more client friendly way,” he says. “We live and breathe for the success of our partners and the buying experience of their customers. Our products put the partner needs first and are aligned with their product offering, process and customer strategy”.
“We now have a fully operational, proprietary eCommerce finance platform ready to be integrated with partners and customers. Combined with a highly dedicated and professional team, we are well equipped to not only fight, but also win the big battle”, he says. “Through the summer we have strengthened our management and staff with highly competent and skilled people from both the client side, sales, finance, and business development”.
Harald points out the Optin API as key to expanding its product offering to other structures in the payment segment. “The Optin API allows for fast and easy integration with eCommerce retailers online and in-store, payment platforms & payment providers. We can also partner with non-Fintech companies, offering our platforms under white label agreement.”
Targeting the attractive and
underserved SME eCommerce market
Harald explains that Optin’s initial focus has been on Norway, but emphasizes that expanding throughout Europe with their partners is an obvious next step:
“Many of our partners are international, and we will support them with our product offerings in both existing and new markets,” he says.
“So far we have access to more than 3 million customers through our 12 eCommerce partners. And our access to customers through our partner network provides us with a wide variety of unique cross-sales opportunities,” he says.
“Our focus is on our partners and their customers, and we offer a unique white label solution combined with a long-term commission model. We want to incentivize our partners and it should be revenue- generating in multiple ways to partner with Optin as their preferred eCommerce financing partner.”
A scalable Platform to support business growth for Optin and partners
To conclude, Harald says, “We have invested heavily in our technical platform from the very beginning, and built a dynamic, scalable, multicurrency platform capable of supporting our aggressive growth targets. In the short-term we aim to build a highly profitable bank with very interesting longer-term returns for our shareholders”.
“The result so far is a strong and capable growth platform for our partners, with unique capabilities to address end-user needs for financing, and a strong strategic platform providing interesting financial returns for our investors. Optin Bank will definitely redefine eCommerce”.