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Top Takeaways from Transfer by Modern Treasury

On June 1, Modern Treasury hosted Transfer at The Midway in San Francisco. Read up on key learnings from the event.

Rachel MindellBrand Writer

On June 1, Modern Treasury hosted Transfer at The Midway in San Francisco. It was our first user conference and an opportunity to convene payments experts across industries.

Emcees from the Acquired podcast, Ben Gilbert and David Rosenthal, brought energy and thoughtfulness from kickoff to their closing interview with Brad Gerstner. Attendees joined us in person (and online) for seven packed sessions, and we got to enjoy conversation with them over the breaks and at the welcome and closing receptions.

The Transfer Venue pre-show

Transfer’s agenda focused on the future of money movement, with topics ranging from FedNow and embedded finance to payment operations at scale, bank innovations, and the next era of finance. Below, you’ll find key learnings from the event, with giant thanks to everyone who took Transfer from idea to reality.

Payments Are at a Turning Point

If software is indeed eating the world, all payments will eventually begin and end in software. In Transfer’s opening session, Modern Treasury co-founder and CEO Dimitri Dadiomov talked through the forces motivating change and driving innovation—new consumer expectations, new business models, and the arrival of FedNow, to name a few.

He also spoke about the opportunity well-executed payments present and how a modern operating system for money movement can help companies succeed in this moment. As Dadiomov shared, in reference to the role of Modern Treasury,

“We saw the need for an independent software layer to serve as the foundational financial infrastructure for your business. Because ultimately, while payments are core to your business, they aren't your core business.”
Matt Marcus presenting at Transfer

Co-founder and CPO Matt Marcus then walked through the three layers of Modern Treasury's operating system: our integration layer, API layer, and application layer, which in tandem, serve as a single source of truth for all of a company’s financial data and workflows. As opposed to building payments, Marcus observed, businesses would “rather spend time focused on building great products and experiences for their users.”

FedNow Has Huge Implications for Money Movement

For a team as bullish as we are on FedNow, hosting a speaker at Transfer from the Federal Reserve System—Connie Theien, SVP Industry Payments Industry Relations—was big. Theien talked with Sam Aarons, co-founder and CTO of Modern Treasury, about the sea change affordable, accessible, and faster payments can enable. The conversation touched on promising use cases, RTP vs. FedNow, adoption, fraud, readiness, and the roles (and rules) for corporates.

It’s an exciting time. As Aarons observed, if we can make ubiquitous, fast payments work in the US, we open ourselves to other possibilities including fast payments across borders and the opportunity to redefine how the world moves money.

The Ability to Scale Payment Operations Sets Companies Apart

The third session at Transfer focused on lessons from the (payments) trenches. Moderator Erin McCune, Expert Partner at Bain & Company, facilitated a conversation with Nadia Asoyan, CFO at Strike, and Stewart Ellis, CFO at Hippo Insurance, on the challenges of scaling payment operations. As speakers shared, the thorniest issues they faced included:

  • Integrating with a banks to automate payments
  • Aligning finance teams with engineering priorities
  • Gaining visibility on money flows and providing status updates to customers
  • Resolving fringe events and the time/resource drain
"Lessons from the Trenches" panelists

The infrastructure and tools to address these challenges can save massive time and resources, optimize cash flow (and thus support planning), and increase customer satisfaction. And these gains set growing businesses apart from the pack. As Asoyan noted,

“You have to invest—up front—your time and effort to make sure you have the right processes.”

Embedded Payments Can Be a Growth Lever With the Right Tools

Embedded payments were a key topic throughout the day, especially since payments infrastructure can unlock new revenue streams, increase customer satisfaction, and boost retention.

Transfer’s fourth session, “A Masterclass in Embedded Payments,” was moderated by Drew Edmond, Associate Partner at Glenbrook Partners, and featured a conversation with Geoff Lewis, VP of Product Management at Procore, and Eduardo Vergara, Head of Sales of Goldman Sachs TxB.

This session offered three key takeaways:

  • Embedding payments can be difficult, especially in non-tech industries with legacy systems.
  • Leveraging relationships (like Procore did with Goldman Sachs TxB and Modern Treasury) can help make embedding payments better and easier
  • Companies need the right infrastructure to build an embedded payments product, like Procore established for Procore Pay

Both speakers emphasized the importance of solid partnerships to ensure the success of embedded payments. Lewis stressed the value of strong relationships, especially for under-served industries like construction. As he shared, “It’s called a bank partner for a reason. The more unique your solution, the more partnership there needs to be.”

Building Payments Is Challenging Across Industries

Next, leading Modern Treasury clients talked about the insights they’ve gained building payment products. Speakers included Jess Levin, Founder & CEO at ROH; Derek Shockey, Engineering Manager at Cash App; Aleksander Koenig, Founder & CEO at Settle; and Michael Sindicich, EVP, GM at Navan.

Transfer panelists Jess Levin, Derek Shockey, Aleksander Koenig, and Michael Sindicich, with moderator Chris Frakes.

Even though their industries are diverse (from events to finance to travel), each of these leaders shared challenges with payment accuracy, transparency, and timing when building to bank rails. As Sindicich observed about building payments,

“If you’re not a fintech, I think people underestimate how hard it is and how much effort needs to go into it.”

By adopting an operating system for money movement, each business experienced internal benefits (increased efficiency and the ability to scale, for example) and end-users also benefited.

Koenig shared, “It’s seamless for us to work with multiple banks and payment partners. For our customers, it’s so seamless, they don’t even notice.”

Banks Are Innovating to Better Serve Businesses That Move Money

Transfer’s penultimate session focused on how leading corporate and transaction banks are working to support companies that move money in their product.

Guest speakers included Brody Mulderig, Head of Web3 Business Development at J.P. Morgan; Andrew Harrison, Head of US Digital Partnerships at BMO Harris Bank; and Keith Vander Leest, Head of Payments at Cross River.

For businesses moving money, panelists discussed the role of bank partnerships (including specific needs and challenges) and what makes client and bank relationships productive. They talked about the future of banking, including approaches to fraud as well as developer-focused and vertical-specific offerings. Each bank representative discussed key areas of focus and prioritization, as well as the role of third-party relationships, including bank relationships with Modern Treasury.

As the speakers shared, the onus is on companies to prioritize bank resiliency and seek out the best banks for their needs since every financial institution is unique. As Vander Leest said, “ It’s about finding the right culture. No bank is the end-all be-all.”

From Transfer to the Next Chapter

To close out the day, the Acquired hosts interviewed Brad Gerstner, who talked about the current and future state of payments, startups, finance, and AI (among other important topics). It was an energizing conclusion to a full day.

Transfer attendees post-show chatting outside the Midway

Our team is grateful to all the partners and attendees who made this event possible. It was wonderful spending time with so many leaders in the payments space, and we’re excited to be with you again soon.

If you’re looking to learn about how Modern Treasury can help your business win in the next era of payments, reach out anytime.

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