By Pirkka Lankinen
CEO at PayiQ
It’s no secret that running a smart mobility company has been challenging when people stay at home. But now, the tide is turning, and we are in an excellent position to ride the recovery wave. For PayiQ, Q3/21 was our best quarter ever. People are moving again, both our revenue and customer base hit new highs, and we just finished a successful investment round.
In our home market, Finland sales are picking up after the pandemic. The growth numbers for 2020 and 2021 are naturally good news. But they become even more promising when we consider that during the pandemic, the occupancy rate of public transport in Finnish cities has been 40–50% below average (according to the Ministry of Transport and Communications). Our sales growth has increased from adding new Finnish cities to our partnership roster and individuals shifting to mobile tickets.
The relative growth of mobile and contactless ticketing is not only due to safety concerns. At PayiQ, we believe we are witnessing a bigger trend towards a more digital, flexible, and resilient lifestyle. Instead of committing to monthly or annual billing, people want optionality and modularity that suits their needs and allows change of plans. This is a trend that is working in our favor. PayiQ is an enabler of optionality, not an enforcer of one size fits all approach.
The biggest potential for PayiQ lies, of course, outside of Finnish borders. Finding the right partner in Russia has taken a while, but now things are racing with Udobnyi Marshrut. During Q3, we added three new cities and saw robust revenue and user growth. PayiQ’s ticketing technology is usually bought as part of a larger solution that includes hardware. In Russia, our partner is well connected but wants to focus on hardware, not on mobile ticketing, and therefore we are a perfect match. Currently, we are scaling our joint offering in Russia but are also exploring possible new markets outside of Russia.
Another big market where our partnership strategy is gaining traction is India. While we have been active in Russia for a few years, India is new territory for us. We were about to launch in India just before the pandemic but had to postpone our effort until now. Luckily, we could re-recruit the same gifted local team that we had chosen for the planned, but canceled, start in 2020. What naturally helps tremendously with the Indian operation is that our VP of Global Sales & Business Development, Shyam Sunder, is a native of India and knows the market well.
Being active on several continents and time zones, of course, changes many things regarding our processes. We must position PayiQ and its services internationally yet not strive to do everything ourselves. Therefore, our focus on building complementary partnerships is as strong as ever.
What’s become increasingly important to us lately is our own app. For a while, we thought that our future would be in backend systems enabling apps, but it looks very much like running systems and warehousing isn’t enough in our business. We must build great stores and storefronts for our customers to make sure the end customers can use all of our capabilities. When the user experience is what it should be, the customer knows when the bus will come, if there is room, where and when to change lines, and how much the trip cost. The ticket and receipt appear without delay, and maybe there are other services available during the trip. With all of this, the app becomes the customer’s best travel buddy. And once you achieve this position, you have developed a very lucrative state of affairs for everyone involved.
And finally, one more vital and energizing piece of news. We are happy to announce that right after Q3 ended, we were able to complete our investment round. The round was considerably bigger than the previous ones, and we ended up collecting around 2 million euros of new funding. So, gears are shifting here at PayiQ, and it feels terrific. We will keep you posted on how we progress.