Below is our recent interview with Simon Reader, CEO and co-founder at PENG:
Q: Could you provide our readers with a brief introduction to your company?
A: We’re PENG and we are an open banking-powered mobile payment application designed for small businesses – particularly the self-employed and sole traders. We built our launch over the course of 7 months, specifically seeking the verticals that would benefit from our technology. Our Chairman, James Kibera, and I designed the brand in 2021 after extensive market research into open banking’s potential. We’ve seen a massive rise in popularity and usage over 2020/2021, and the challenge for us was to support the technology with an accessible brand that we position today as value-driven and sustainable.
Q: Any highlights on your recent announcement?
A: Our launch happens at an important time. We’re conscious of the effect that Covid has had on small businesses, and we’re eager for open banking to be a source of financial literacy and awareness from within the payments industry. As small businesses begin to meet pre-pandemic trade there is a broad curiosity as to what platforms and services provide the best value for money – and we’re keen to meet that.
Q: Can you give us more insights into your offering?
A: As a payment initiation service, PENG enables bank account-to-account payments. In practice this works as such: you’re the owner of a market stall, and you want your customer to pay you on the spot. You’ll open the PENG app on your phone, punch in the total, then generate a QR code your customer will scan (the code can also be sent via messaging). The beauty of the process is your customer doesn’t need PENG themselves – they’ll just be presented with a bank-grade safe journey to their own banking app they’ll then pay, which is reflected in your account instantly. Ordinarily, payments in this context are faced with delays to the holder’s account – sometimes up to 5 days – and some charges include a percentage of the transaction total. We don’t do that. With us it’s transparent and immediate.
We offer two subscription options – our PRO option, priced at roughly £20 a month, allows you to request payments to the value of £35,000 a month, and our free option allows you to request payments to the value of £1,500 a month – and both feature additional options to purchase credits when you exceed.
Q: What can we expect from your company in next 6 months? What are your plans?
A: We’re going to grow our UK small business market, and simultaneously start building our European expansion. We want to build a big sales network not just in London, but across the small business network in the UK. From there we will look at Europe, and start integrating more products alongside the account-to-account initiation.
Q: What is the best thing about your company that people might not know about?
A: The founders are all African. We bring experience and insight from emerging market trends – such as the M-Pesa phenomenon in East Africa – and apply the same motivation to the thriving open banking payments industry in London.