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Colin Brown, Chief Executive of Aryza

Today it’s time to meet Colin Brown, Chief Executive of Aryza, the leading provider of automation software for the lending, credit, debt recovery and insolvency industries.

Over to you Colin:

Who are you and what’s your background?

My interest with technology ignited during my pursuit of a Bachelor of Computer Applications (BCA) at Dublin City University. From there, my journey led me to a dynamic career path which included various roles in the finance sector. My first experience in the banking world was a pivotal role in technical support at Irish Intercontinental Bank (acquired by KBC Bank Ireland since). Subsequently, I embarked on diverse professional endeavours, including working as a software developer for Teamsoft, who co-developed various cash solutions for Irish banks, and serving as a contractor for Aerospace Software Developments, Nathean and various others.

Driven by a passion for innovation and entrepreneurship, I co-founded ieComputerSystems & Lir Software, where I honed my leadership skills and gained invaluable experience in the tech industry. In 2009, I embarked on an exciting new chapter as CEO of Aryza, a role that has allowed me to lead and contribute to the evolution of fintech solutions in the industry.

What is your job title and what are your general responsibilities?

As Chief Executive Officer, I have helped played an integral role in bringing several innovative software solutions to the market, designed to help improve the financial health and well-being of businesses and people all over the world.

I am responsible for driving the commercial and strategic direction of the business, alongside guiding the company through continued year-on-year growth, overseeing operations in North America, Ireland, the UK, Benelux, DACH, Mauritius, and APAC, alongside the group’s overall operation and strategy.

Can you give us an overview of your business?

Aryza is a provider of end-to-end, mission-critical automation software to business customers in regulated industries, focused on the lending, credit, debt recovery, and insolvency sectors.

We create smart platforms, responsible and compliant products, and a unique system of companies and capabilities so that businesses can optimise their customers’ journey through the right product at the right time.

Our solutions automate a wide range of back and middle office activities including customer data collection, administration, and payment processing, covering every stage of the debt cycle. Aryza’s scalable technology platform is capable of meeting high volume, high complexity needs and helps customers significantly increase efficiency while ensuring compliance with local legislation.

The solutions are underpinned by unrivalled expertise and powerful data and are designed to have a positive impact on the financial health and wellbeing of our customer’s customers around the world. Since its foundation in 2002, the business has grown rapidly and now operates across four continents.

Tell us how you are funded?

In 2017, Aryza was acquired by Pollen Street Capital to accelerate our growth and in 2022, we secured further investment from Macquarie Capital Partners, Pollen Street Capital, and Aryza’s senior management.

What’s the origin story? Why did you start the company? To solve what problems?

Aryza was founded with a clear mission, to revolutionise the way financial services are delivered and experienced. The company’s inception was driven by a recognition of the challenges individuals and businesses face in navigating the complex landscape of financial products and services. Recognising the need for a seamless, tailored approach to financial solutions, Aryza set out to create smart platforms and responsible, compliant products. We deliver cutting-edge automation software tailored for regulated sectors, specialising in lending, credit, debt recovery, and insolvency industries.

At its core, Aryza was born from the belief that money should be a positive force in life, not a negative one. The founders were passionate about making life easier for financial professionals and their customers, ultimately aiming to ease the strain of debt and empower individuals to take better control of their finances.

Aryza addresses several key challenges in the financial industry. Firstly, in today’s highly regulated world, there is immense value in guiding customers quickly to the products that best suit their immediate needs. Aryza’s platforms and products streamline this process, providing customers with a seamless journey tailored to their specific circumstances. Secondly, Aryza leverages its global expertise to develop innovative solutions that improve the financial health of individuals and businesses worldwide. By offering these products, Aryza ensures that businesses can optimise their customers’ journey through the right product at the right time.

Who are your target customers? What’s your revenue model?

We have over 1,000 customers across the globe which include financial institutions, lenders, creditor providers, insolvency practitioners & firms, debt purchasers, utility and telecom companies, governments and other market supplying services across the credit and debt cycle.

Some of Aryza’s key customers include Commerzbank, JP Morgan, Grant Thornton, BNP Paribas and Eon. Our work with these clients includes launching and implementing new embedded lending platforms, origination platforms, portfolio management software solutions, and customer engagement software.

Aryza’s revenue model is characterised by its diversity, blending a traditional SAAS model with a transactional element. This unique approach provides flexibility to adapt to market fluctuations, ensuring stability through both licensing and transactional streams, thus enabling resilience in varying market conditions.

If you had a magic wand, what one thing would you change in the banking and/or FinTech sector?

If I had a magic wand, I would transform the banking and FinTech sector by decoupling legacy systems to facilitate seamless integration of new technologies. One of the biggest challenges in the industry is the reliance on legacy platforms, which often hinder innovation and the adoption of modern technologies.

Embracing a more modular approach where legacy systems can be replaced with cutting-edge technology utilising API-driven integration, would not only make it easier for banks to integrate new systems but also eliminates the complexity often associated with upgrading software. Ultimately, this transformation would accelerate innovation, enhance agility and efficiency, and drive greater value for both banks and their customers.

What is your message for the larger players in the Financial Services marketplace?

My message to the larger players in the Financial Services marketplace is one of encouragement and urgency. It’s time to embrace ambition in your company’s technology roadmap and vision. Instead of adhering solely to traditional approaches, I urge you to adopt a vast approach that encompasses the ever-changing landscape of technology and consumer behaviour. Recognise that today’s consumers are diverse and dynamic, with evolving expectations for the delivery of true technology-driven financial services.

To stay ahead in this rapidly evolving market, it’s essential to adapt at a faster pace, embracing innovation and agility. By daring to be bold and ambitious in your technology strategies, you can position your organisation as a leader in meeting and adapting to the needs of modern consumers and driving innovation in the financial services industry.

Where do you get your Financial Services/FinTech industry news from?

There are several publications which I read to get the latest financial services industry news, including The Financial Times, The Banker and Financial News. I find these publications provide valuable insights, analysis, and news related to the industry.

Can you list 3 people you rate from the FinTech and/or Financial Services sector that we should be following on LinkedIn, and why?

  • Chris Skinner: Chris is a renowned FinTech thought leader, author, and speaker known for his insights into the future of banking and finance. His LinkedIn provides valuable analysis of industry trends, regulatory developments, and emerging technologies, keeping you informed about the latest innovations and disruptions shaping the financial services landscape.
  • Anne Boden: As the founder and CEO of Starling Bank, Anne is a leading figure in the FinTech industry. Her LinkedIn offers posts covering topics such as digital banking, entrepreneurship, and leadership, providing valuable insights for aspiring FinTech professionals.
  • Brett King: Brett is a globally recognised FinTech influencer and best-selling author, and CEO of Moven, a digital banking startup. His LinkedIn content delves into cutting-edge technologies, offering thought-provoking perspectives on their impact on the financial services sector.

What FinTech services (and/or apps) do you personally use?

I utilise a variety of fintech services and apps to manage my financial affairs efficiently and effectively. For online banking, I rely on platforms that offer intuitive interfaces, seamless transactions, and innovative features like budgeting tools and real-time notifications. These apps have revolutionised the way I manage my day-to-day finances, offering me convenience and flexibility.

When it comes to investment apps, I turn to platforms that provide diversified investment options. These apps offer access to a wide range of investment products, allowing me to build a diversified portfolio tailored to my financial goals and risk tolerance.

These fintech services have become integral parts of my financial toolkit, empowering me to take control of my finances, make informed decisions, and pursue my long-term financial objectives with confidence.

What’s the best new FinTech product or service you’ve seen recently?

In February of this year, Absa Group introduced ChatWallet (news link), a WhatsApp-enabled wallet transforming accessibility and inclusion in banking, empowering users to manage their finances directly through the messaging platform without the need for a traditional bank account.

Finally, let’s talk predictions. What trends do you think are going to define the next few years in the FinTech sector?

The FinTech sector is poised for significant evolution in the coming years, driven by several key trends that are already shaping the industry landscape. The strategic integration of artificial intelligence (AI) will be a defining trend, albeit one that requires careful consideration. While AI holds immense potential to revolutionise various aspects of financial services, its application must be approached thoughtfully to ensure ethical use and positive outcomes for consumers.

Another trend that is already gaining momentum and is expected to continue is the proliferation of consumer-centric apps. We’re witnessing a shift towards user-friendly interfaces and personalised experiences, driven by evolving consumer needs. Some banks may find themselves lagging behind in meeting these evolving expectations, highlighting the importance of innovation and agility in delivering value to customers.

We anticipate the emergence of broader ecosystems within the FinTech sector, characterised by collaborative partnerships between different products and services. This trend reflects a move towards holistic solutions that address multiple facets of financial wellness, from banking and payments to investment and insurance. By fostering collaboration and integration, these ecosystems have the potential to unlock new opportunities and enhance the overall customer experience.

Embracing these trends will be crucial for industry players to stay competitive and meet the evolving needs of consumers in an increasingly digital and interconnected world.

Thank you very much for taking the time to participate Colin!

You can read more about Aryza at http://www.aryza.com and you can connect with Colin on his LinkedIn profile here: Colin Brown.

Ewan is Founder and Editor of FinTech Profile and Mobile Industry Review. He writes about a wide variety of mobile and FinTech industry issues and is usually active on Twitter most days. You can read more about him or reach him with these details.

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