Accel Partners has been making major investments in a number of online payments companies, including Wonga, e-payments company Yapstone, and most recently, online payments company Braintree. In fact, payments is one of the main investment themes that Accel is targeting in its funding strategy. So it’s not surprising that the venture firm is staffing up on experienced talent to help find the next big thing in payments. Today, payments executive Bill Ready is joining Accel as an Executive in Residence.
Ready joins Accel from electronic bill pay provider iPay Technologies, where he served as President, and helped manage the company’s sale to Jack Henry for $300 million last year. Previously, Ready served as iPay’s Chief Financial Officer and worked as a consultant at McKinsey & Co. where he focused specifically on advising companies in the payments and financial technology sector.
At Accel, Ready will work closely with existing portfolio companies within payments and financial products and will also be working to identify new investment opportunities in the field where he can serve in a senior leadership role.
Accel Partner Todd MacLean believes that online payments is sector where the firm’s experience and expertise will provide them with the tools to be able to place bets on the right companies. “We think it’s a massive end market, where there’s a lot of disruption and innovation taking place,” he explains. As a side note, MacLean actually funded iPay while managing Bain’s venture capital arm.
Ready tells us that there are a few areas that he feels are ripe for innovation in the payments space, including providing payments services to businesses that previously didn’t have specialized payments products (i.e. extending niche payments capabilities to small businesses). Ready also is bullish on payments companies that are targeting certain consumer segments, like those unbanked consumers.
Similar to Ready’s outlook, Accel’s investment strategy centralizes around the fact that as the financial services ecosystem undergoes a massive transformation, the companies that leverage technology to help underserved market segments will succeed.
Considering the disruption and innovation taking place at the large-scale level with PayPal and Google, as well as with startups like Square, online payments technology is going to continue to grow over next few years. And clearly Accel wants to have a significant stake in the race.