CEO Q&A: Conor Lyden, Trustap

Business, Interviews, Technology | Wed 14 Feb | Author – Business & Finance
Conor Lyden, Founder/CEO, Trustap

Conor Lyden, Founder/CEO of Trustap, talks about the future of payments and the vastness of the industry.

Q. What are your main priorities and goals in your role?

Usually, on a day-to-day basis, my main priorities are to ensure the team achieves all the targets that we set out for any given day.

Ultimately, the aim is to deliver a service to our customers that solves any problems they might have when transacting online and ensure that anyone who uses Trustap‘s service can transact online with total peace of mind.

Q. What are your biggest challenges as CEO?

The biggest challenge for me as CEO of Trustap, especially in the very early stages, was to become an expert at every part of the business. In a start-up you have to know about sales, marketing, finance, HR and any technical issues just as well as you know your particular product or service. That’s not to say I don’t like it, though, I’ve really enjoyed learning and improving my skills in lots of different areas.

Q. How do you keep your team/staff motivated?

We still have quite a small team at the moment so we’re in constant communication every day. I think this definitely helps keep the team on track and you learn to understand which tasks might take more time as a result. I think getting good feedback from customers or client sites really helps to motivate the team, too, and that their work is being recognised and praised.

Q. What are the challenges facing your industry going forward?

There are a number of challenges that will face the payments/transaction industry in 2018 and beyond but definitely none that are too difficult to overcome. Overcoming these challenges will present huge opportunities for companies in our space.

I think one of the main challenges for existing payment companies will be to stay ahead of the emerging technologies, especially blockchain technology, and to utilise the likes of smart contracts to provide a better service for users.

Q. What new trends are emerging in your industry?

I would say they mostly come in the form of blockchain technology and all the different cryptocurrencies that are emerging with different value propositions that could potentially improve the online payments/transactions industry.

Q. Are there any major changes you would like to see in your sector?

I’d like to see us accelerate, much faster than we are now, towards a cashless society.

Q. As an employer are you finding any skills gaps in the market?

As we’re still at an early stage, I’m probably not in the best position to offer an opinion on that. We’ve been pretty lucky so far!

Q. How did your strategy develop in the context of the banking crisis and economic crisis?

Trustap was just an idea at the back of my head when the banking crisis and economic crisis happened. In saying that, from studying what happened and why it happened, there are definitely learnings to be taken from it.

Q. How will Brexit affect you, or have you started to feel the effects already?

Luckily, Brexit won’t have a big effect on us at Trustap but we could be indirectly affected if some of our partners or client sites struggle as a result of Brexit. It’s still probably a bit early to understand what the real effects will be, though.

Q. How do you define success and what drives you to succeed?

I think my definition of success has definitely changed from the very early stages of the business and I’m sure it will continue to do so. I like to set relatively short-term goals and when they’re achieved I would deem that as a success.

In broad terms, if I can sit back and confidently say that the business has achieved the vision we set out right at the start, then that would definitely be a success.

Q. What’s the best advice you’ve been given, or would give, in business?

The best advice I’ve been given is common advice that I hear people say all the time, which is to do your best to expand your business network. It was only recently that I realised how important it is. Business is all about people. If you take sales for example, pretty much all the success we’ve had is through personal introductions. Cold calling and cold emailing really don’t compare to being introduced to a decision maker in a business through someone in your own network who can vouch for you.

Knowing how to act correctly in a business setting, whether it be a meeting or a dinner, is really important, too. Even go as far as ensuring you’re shaking someone’s hand correctly. Developing these skills could be the difference between closing a deal or not.

Q. What have been your highlights in business over the past year?

There have been lots of highlights over the last year. Picking up a couple of awards, in particular throughout the Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur (IBYE) competition, has been great for the team and shows how much progress has been made. Being involved in the IBYE process has been great for myself personally and has really helped the business progress in the last 12 months.

I’d say the two biggest highlights would be getting our first partner site signed up to use the service and also getting our first paying customers. They were great milestones to achieve.

Q. What’s next for the company?

We’re hoping to really kick on in 2018 and expand into the US market.

Q. What opportunities or plans for growth do you see in 2018?

More and more people are buying and selling second-hand items online every year because there’s a wider variety of items available and more value to be found in comparison to buying directly from retailers. We expect this growth to continue into 2018 and we hope to use our unique solution to help as many of these people as we can.

Q. Where do you want your business/brand to be this time next year?

This time next year it would be great if we could look back and say we’ve successfully expanded into new markets and be able to say that we’ve reached our target number of transactions for the year.

The best advice I’ve been given is common advice that I hear people say all the time, which is to do your best to expand your business network. It was only recently that I realised how important it is. Business is all about people.

Trustap is a transaction platform that acts as a safety net for customers when they want to buy or sell online.

Trustap works like a personal escrow account. In each transaction, the funds are held during the delivery process. Once the item has been delivered and the buyer is satisfied or the 24-hour complaints period has elapsed, the funds are released to the seller. You no longer have to worry about whether you’ll be scammed or whether something will go wrong.