Ryan Weidenmiller, CEO of Karmic Labs explains the payments evolution and how SaaS technologies can begin to merge with the payments layer.

Ryan Weidenmiller, CEO of Karmic Labs explains the payments evolution and how SaaS technologies can begin to merge with the payments layer.
I recently spent time with Ryan Weidenmiller, CEO of Karmic Labs to talk about their approach to payments and their new innovation – the Dash(tm)   App, which combines payments and Software-as-Service (SaaS) technologies.

What attracted you to the payments industry and why now?
RW: I’ve been looking at the space for almost ten years, mostly in Asia, but the current confluence of SaaS, Mobile, and Payments provides a lot of opportunity.  Furthermore, there is a gap in the understanding of the payments and the SaaS worlds. Much of what we see happening in the payments landscape now is akin to the transformation of data networking in the early 2000’s – new innovative, intelligent layers are able to bring forth new services. 

How did you approach the problem?
RW:   We spent over a year researching the problems of existing payment mechanisms and architecture of payment systems, as well as, the subsequent services that surround payments, such as expense management and other SaaS solutions, which involve payments.  We quickly realized that payments had to evolve in order for new services to emerge.  

We discovered that the current payment processors were not able to satisfy many of the mechanisms needed to create the value-added services that we knew businesses desired.  In order to accomplish our objective, we decided to build an ‘intelligent virtualization payment layer’ on top of a card issuing payment-processing network that could help unleash these new services. 

Why was it important to create a virtualization layer on top of existing payment processors for card issuance?
RW: To easily bring forth new services for businesses, developers and our partners need the ability to access card issuance and payment processing in a standardized fashion and without needing to dive into the complexity of payments.

To execute on this objective, we needed to have the ability to influence the technology stack associated with the ability to issue card numbers, as well as, be able to drive traditional stand-alone solutions, such as expense management, onto a vertically integrated platform that would allow for the incorporation of other SaaS solutions. 

This process took a very long time, and we ultimately chose a processor that could provide us the scope and scale needed.  Through this process we were able to create a whole new level of services for the way companies and organizations could manage funds, payments and expenses, and most importantly, we could then see the various weaknesses that were exposed with traditional and non-vertically integrated solutions, such as expense management. We decided to test the concepts with our virtualization layer that offers API-based access to payment processing and card issuance.  We also developed Dash – an effortless way to manage cash flow and expenses.

Why did you settle on expense management? Aren’t there many SaaS solutions addressing this problem already?
RW: Yes, several companies have attempted to address this but so far have only provided a limited solution and we saw some deep flaws with the approach.  Such SaaS solutions are low-hanging fruit once the more intelligent payment layer has been established.  Furthermore, we heard from numerous successful and talented executives, sales leaders, and customer success leaders that complained about the existing products and services they consumed – we realized that we could solve for the payment layer constraints that we could actually offer expense management at no cost to the business, while also improving the overall experience and opening the door for a tremendous amount of new services. 

How are you different from other expense management apps?
RW: As a first step, we are a payments organization focused on improving the process to effectively manage the access to funds for employees and contractors; gain approval to funds for corporate expenses; and ultimately make the business more efficient.  We accomplish these benefits by vertically integrating real-time expense management – something that many providers cannot offer.   We innovate on a couple of levels, and solve two problems at the same time - in one elegant solution.

Furthermore, we could do so while eliminating tangible costs to the company and organization.

What’s next for Karmic Labs?
RW: This is the beginning for Karmic Labs. We selectively opened our API infrastructure to interact with many other cloud services - first for our direct partners - so they can offer these new services to financial institutions. We plan to open some of these APIs to other cloud providers.

We have integrated our services with other innovative cloud-based service providers, such as Slack and accounting software providers, such as Xero and a peer-to-peer lending provider and demonstrate this at Finovate.

These services bring forth a new way for a business to obtain a loan or funding from a non-traditional provider if needed.  They move and control the funds in new, more efficient ways, including through communications and messaging via Slack, complete with vertically integrated expense management that will seamlessly flow into accounting solutions.

The result of this intelligent virtualization layer of cloud services is a new way for businesses to reduce employee friction, and increase employee productivity.  

To learn more, visit https://getdash.io

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