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#ComeBackStronger: how evolving pre-pandemic paid off

This week the team at Refresh connected with Leon Wilson, founder and CEO of fintech start up, PollenPay, for our latest instalment of #ComeBackStronger.

Leon is a successful entrepreneur who spotted an emerging trend for a new way to ‘buy now, pay later’ around 18 months ago, evolving his business to offer consumers an alternative to traditional credit. PollenPay is a fintech-driven payments company that enables consumers to purchase products, paying at a later date/in instalments.

For the last few months, Leon has been incredibly busy with his business proving resilient through the pandemic, as more consumers than ever turned to online shopping as the world went into lockdown. We connected with him to find out more about what he’s been up to, what the pandemic has taught him and what’s keeping him optimistic about the future. This is what he had to say.

How are you accelerating company growth in the current climate?

As we’re a fintech company, we remained agile throughout the pandemic. We have business managers and developers in various locations, so we had already adapted to remote working, a setup we’ll continue for the foreseeable future. Right now, we don’t have a need to be office-based and until this approach no longer works for us, our team will continue to work from the comfort of their own homes and we will adapt as needed.

While the COVID-19 pandemic really hasn’t had too much of a negative impact on us, it did cause us to regret not getting to market sooner, as in recent months our workload has increased significantly. Due to the way we are setup however, and our approach to business, we’re able to offer employees flexibility to manage their time and work in a way that suits them.

Where do you see your future opportunities lying?

Being in the fintech space and an industry that has proven incredibly resilient through the pandemic has solidified the fact that the future looks promising for us – you only have to look at the recent success of our competitors, Klarna and Clearpay.

Our ethos is very much centred around making life easier for both consumers and merchants. We enable consumers to manage their finances effectively, while helping merchants to grow their businesses – and as eCommerce continues to boom, we’re anticipating PollenPay to thrive with it.

If we can gain even a small portion of the market share over the next couple of years, we’ll achieve the goals we set out as the ‘buy now, pay later’ market continues to grow - especially amongst Millennials.

What are you most optimistic about?

The fact we recognised the opportunity to evolve the business and move in this new direction about 18 months ago makes us feel incredibly optimistic, as the events of recent months have proven this was the right decision.

The pandemic resulted in a surge in online purchases with consumers becoming more familiar with ‘buy now, pay later,’ proving our notion to steer in this direction was 100% correct. With more shoppers and sellers than ever before now online, as well as better service across the supply chain and better products at lower prices, ‘buy now, pay later’ is growing rapidly.

We’ve also been working on some exciting product developments and new features, which will roll out soon and we’re anticipating will be real game-changers for the ‘buy now, pay later’ market.

What are you looking forward to implementing/changing?

The way we now interact with retailers excites us as a business, both online and in store, as well as seeing first-hand how the younger generations consistently look for different ways to make purchases and interact with merchants.

The last few years have seen a real shift away from traditional credit/store cards, and towards newer formats. PollenPay really is a response to this growing trend and a solution for consumers looking to pay for products in instalments, without interest.

What opportunities have you seen arise?

Last year there was more than a 30% increase in the ‘buy now, pay later’ sector and when the latest figures are released, we’re confident we’ll continue to see market growth throughout the next few years and beyond.

It’s incredibly exciting to be moving into in this space and to be part of the transition in the way customers now engage with brands.

How are you remaining positive?

For us, because of the current situation and the recent growth we’ve experienced, it’s been pretty easy to stay positive. We’ve seen a real shift to online spending, particularly amongst Millennials and Gen Zers who are consistently looking for new ways to make purchases away from traditional credit. Our competitors are also proof that this market is on the rise.

How are you maintaining a work/life balance and ensuring family time?

I actually live in Australia, but have been back in the UK for a little while to launch the business here, so time management has been easy because of the time difference.  I typically work in the morning and evening, freeing up a lot of time in the day for family activities and socialising.

What have been your key learnings from the last few months?

To always remain as flexible as possible, as COVID-19 has demonstrated that we never know the chain of events that could be just around the corner. Having a system in place to work remotely as long as needed really did set us up for success, while always ensuring we have cutting edge technology in place meant we were adapted to work from home seamlessly and successfully.

Our setup has also made it easier for staff to take on responsibility and work autonomously, outside of fixed premises.

What else are you doing to prepare for the future?

Our thoughts are definitely on looking to create not only a friendly office environment on our return back, but offering our employees the freedom and flexibility to work in a way that suits them. Non-essential work can be done offsite at the choice of each employee.

We’ll at least offer flexibility days, so staff can work from home when it works for them and in the office on the days that make sense with their schedules. After all, if the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that this flexibility really is possible.

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