Start-Up Spotlight: Marqeta

Navigator Edition: February 2015
By: Aaron Mercurio and Ben Brown

This is the first in a series of periodic spotlight pieces we will publish throughout the year on new or innovative companies in the payments space.

We recently spoke with Omri Dahan, Chief Revenue Officer at Marqeta, an innovative new card processor based in Emeryville, California. Marqeta enables its clients to build and issue prepaid card products with high levels of spend control and rich marketing capabilities. Marqeta is also the first payment processor to offer fully documented open APIs for developers.

1.  What kind of unserved need did Marqeta see in the marketplace before it launched?

Before we launched our enterprise business, we saw that a lot of innovators in financial services needed a processing platform that was much more modern and flexible than what was out there. Basically, all of these large processing platforms are competing in 2015 with technology built in the 80s or 90s. These legacy platforms are often mainframe-based and built using outdated programming languages. This limits the speed of innovation, which these innovators need to retain a competitive edge. With the increasing number of commerce disrupters entering the market every day, these players have to be able to keep up to remain competitive. Marqeta set out to deliver Silicon Valley innovation with Silicon Valley technology at Silicon Valley speed, without sacrificing reliability, stability, or security. If you’re a Marqeta client, you don’t have to wait to get up and running or to make changes – we provide a flexible and scalable platform that can be configured in real-time, client-side via APIs and other web tools.

2.  When you think about the value chain, where does Marqeta stop and start?

Marqeta’s platform handles core issuer processing for prepaid with the most advanced controls and open / closed loop functionality available. We offer full end-to-end program management for companies that need a turn-key solution that includes everything from core processing, card fulfillment, customer service, KYC, risk management, fraud modeling, and marketing support. For clients that don’t need quite that level of support, they can engage with our platform for pure processing and card control management.

3.  Can you elaborate on some of the interesting loyalty and marketing support that your company can provide?

The Marqeta Platform allows open and closed loop functionality to exist on a single card. Couple that with the unique card controls that can be enabled on specific PANs at specific locations and you can imagine the possibilities as it relates to loyalty and customer engagement. In addition to the platform, we offer our clients tools for customer engagement through SMS, email, CRM and card marketing, as well as consultation on specific strategies and tactics.

4.  At Money2020, Marqeta introduced an open set of APIs, and we see this as an effort to become the preferred processor for developers and the companies behind innovative new financial applications. So how big do you think that market opportunity is?

Developers are disrupting banking, retail and a host of other industries in every part of the commerce and payments ecosystem. They need far more modern and intelligent payment platforms that allow them to monetize their constituencies with control, access and data. Existing payment platforms cannot support the speed, capabilities or cultural alignment of the innovation required by these companies.

The opportunity is significant and includes everyone from start-ups to giant, multi-national corporates and everyone in between. No matter how large or how small, commerce disruptors tend to follow a developer-led decision making process and share a need to innovate fast with a better, more flexible solution that will make them look like a hero. They want cloud-based infrastructure and easy-to-integrate APIs. We believe our market is anyone who needs a payment solution on Monday and wants to be coding it by Friday.

For more information, please contact Aaron Mercurio, Senior Consultant,; or Ben Brown, Senior Consultant, Both specialize in Credit Card Issuing.

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