December 22, 2014

Verizon Venture Forum: mCommerce & Payments - A Discussion Focused on Customers, Identity, and Carriers

At our most recent Venture Forum, we assembled a group of some of the most distinguished leaders from startups, corporations and venture capital firms to discuss the state of the mCommerce & Payments industry. We chose the topic because it was extremely relevant and would come on the heels of this year’s Money2020 event. We felt confident that those factors would set the stage for a highly interactive and lively discussion. Mission accomplished!

While the Venture Forum touched on many topics, I wanted to outline a few of the high level recurring themes of the day.

Customer Experience - The Bedrock Upon Which Adoption Is Built: While we have heard from some that mCommerce & Payments is a solution in search of a problem, another view emerged at our Venture Forum which believes consumers are more than ready to embrace it but that merchants and technology innovators have been slow to pick up the pace. In fact, some players were cited as being too technology focused and pointed to their poor user experience as the reason for their lackluster uptake.

Payments - The Period At The End of The Sentence: Much like the period at the end of a sentence, the transaction itself is necessary for completion, but not necessarily the hero of the well-constructed, memorable sentence.

The Carrier - The Glue That Holds Everything Together: Much was made about the role of the carrier, with most agreeing that their assets were the perfect platform upon which startups and the like could innovate on top of in order to help move the industry forward.

Identity - The Word of The Day: The word identity was mentioned several times in each one of the Venture Forum sessions, with companies demonstrating their approach to obtaining it, be it username first, email, mobile number, etc. Its importance was heard loud and clear. With that said, some cautioned that not all identity was equal, leading to the notion that those who have the strongest identity assets combined with a great user experience would likely win the race.

Apple Pay - An Endorsement Of Its Own Ecosystem, Rather Than A Technology. The point was made that Apple Pay should be viewed as an extension of its own wallet strategy (Passbook) rather than an affirmation of NFC as a technology. Further, it was hypothesized that Apple chose NFC, not because it was the best technology, but because it was the best standard.

We hope you enjoyed reading some of the tidbits from our Venture Forum. The mCommerce & Payments story is one that is still evolving and is certain to grab a lot of headlines in the coming year.  

In closing, we would like to extend a sincere thanks to Tom Noyes who moderated our Venture Forum, Rick Oglesby who provided wonderful insights during the Analyst session, and Keith Rabois who gave a compelling keynote presentation.

Tags: mCommerce , Mobile Payments , Venture Forum , Alden Mahabir