Interview with: Mantas Staliūnas, CEO, Verifo

Mantas Staliūnas (CFA) is a graduate of the prestigious University of Warwick in the United Kingdom. He worked in Bloomberg’s offices in London and Zurich, Pacific Private Bank, and joined Lewben Group in 2018. Since September 2019 he is the CEO of Verified Payments.


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1. Can you tell us about Verifo?

We are young, highly motivated, and rapidly growing team. In 2020, we finalized developing our core banking product and found our niche. This resulted in a 50x growth last year in terms of revenue. We estimate that Verifo will keep up the same pace this year as well.


2. Please describe your industry/main market.

We are focusing on business customers that operate or would like to operate in Europe. Usually, these belong to a new generation of international businesses that are often misunderstood by traditional banks. Companies that operate in the fields of crypto, e-sports, gambling, forex, cannabis, and many other industries, are relatively low-risk and understand the importance of regulatory compliance.


3. What are the main services of Verifo?

Currently, Verifo mostly issues dedicated IBANs and provides SEPA payments as well as SWIFT transfers. Although, in the very near future, we will be able to offer a much wider set of services. They will be very interesting for international businesses. In the next few months, we expect to introduce dedicated SWIFT accounts, payment cards, a full-featured mobile app, and many more financial products.


4. What direction is the banking and EMI industry going in terms of growth after the explosion of companies in the last few years?

While the number of financial institutions was low, we were witnessing a lot of competition as the market was moving towards a zero-sum game. Every fintech was aiming to disrupt the market. In the recent years, we saw that they can collaborate and work together. It resulted in introducing more and better services. I believe that this trend of cooperation will continue and the verticals of embedded payments, banking, lending, and open banking will become dominant.


5. How do you cope with the regulation and your regulator?

it may sound unusual, but the Bank of Lithuania is a great regulator. People who work there are open-minded, forward-thinking, and experienced professionals. All in all, our business is subject to the reputation of Lithuanian fintech space and we all benefit from complying with local and EU laws and regulations.


6. What are the 3 main opportunities in the payments industry in Europe?

Verifo has already developed or is about to launch all the services which I believe are the greatest opportunities right now. Embedded payments are, of course, on top of this list. They offer so many benefits to all parties involved. The customer gets more convenience and more streamlined journey while the merchant increases customer retention and lifetime value. The second golden opportunity comes with money transfers from dedicated SWIFT accounts for international businesses from young perspective sectors (SWIFT code checker). It might look like a niche offering but I believe that financial institutions with this feature will be able to attract high-value customers. The third opportunity in the payments industry would be cooperation. Embedded finance, white-label products, and X-as-a-Service make it possible for fintech companies to collaborate with one another. I believe it will lead to an even higher adoption of customer centricity and design thinking practices, which in its own is an amazing opportunity for all businesses.


6. How do you see your industry in 3 years from now?

This is a great question. Not an easy task to predict the future, though. I guess I see two major trends that I am a firm believer of. First, I am certain that cryptocurrency will shift even further to what is considered a norm in payments. It will be acknowledged more broadly and businesses operating within will not cause too much suspicion for regulators. Second, I am certain that our industry will move even further to make user experience smooth and seamless. It is related to the rise of embedded finance, banks seeking to maintain their gravity, personalization of services, and more. It can even end up with hyper-personalizing financial services, which is not a bad thing if customer interests are fully satisfied.


7. How do you approach cryptocurrency as a payment method?

Whether people like it or not, cryptocurrencies are here to stay. We are always looking for solutions to deliver our services to crypto-related customers. That, of course, includes monitoring and compliance tools.


8. What are your most valuable strengths?

I would say that we have two strengths that differentiate us from others. The first is our professional agility. We quickly adapt to ever-changing market demands and always deliver the best possible service. The second is having a clear goal and an ambitious team to reach it. We all know where we are and where we want Verifo to be, making it happen every day.


9. Which industries you focus on?

International business customers.


10. What makes you unique in the EMI/banking industry?

I can confidently say that it would be the aforementioned agility. We are a young company with highly motivated people onboard. For our customers, this translates to a powerful can-do attitude. We do not just provide a tool, but we listen to customers’ specific needs and propose the best solution.


11. How do you see Verifo in 3 years from now?

We want to be brand recognized across the EU for providing a reliable and innovative service which helps our customers grow their businesses and increase profitability.


12. What do you think clients talk about you?

We are very business oriented. We listen to our clients’ needs and provide guidance from a variety of perspectives: regulatory, infrastructure, business development etc. In addition to the tools, we also share our experience and know-how so that customers can make an informed decision.


Verifo is a modern payment platform for your contemporary international business. We offer an integrated solution to make international wire transfers, collect funds from customers, and manage finances. Whether you are a starting trader or an established international platform, we have a solution that is tailored to your needs.

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