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Richard Straver on how connections are vital to international expansion

Richard came to the Rise programme as a lifelong entrepreneur. His love for comic books and video games evolved into a passion for software and website design, and he has founded a variety of successful web-companies in the years since.

Today he runs Online Payment Platform – a payment services provider that greases the wheels for online payments, connecting customers with merchants and protecting transactions for all parties. In just 7 years, Online Payment Platform has established itself as a game-changer in payment services. Not only does it handle single payments, but it also deals with multi-split payments to multiple merchants, escrow payments and recurring payments, and offers everything from dispute handling to a fully-fledged insights platform, all whilst being compliant to the very latest European regulations.

With a client list that included PayPal, Marktplaats and ANWB, Online Payment Platform was already well established in the Netherlands when Richard applied to be part of the first Rise batch. The Netherlands is a relatively small market though, and Richard was keen to push Online Payment Platform international in order to continue the company’s rapid growth. Specifically, he was hoping to internationalise in Germany, where Online Payment Platform was in discussions with eBay Kleinanzeigen.

As a payment services platform, Online Payment Platform works by collecting money from buyers, then paying it out to sellers from their own bank account. The first step towards internationalising is setting up a business bank account in another country, but that can be a long, tedious process. ‘It's not a requirement,’ he says, ‘but it’s something that makes our product and services better because naturally, consumers in Germany feel safer when they receive the money from a German account.’

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But going further than eBay, we’ve met some other really interesting strategic partners – some of which we’ve already partnered with – through the Rise programme. We have some more big partnerships right around the corner.

Richard Straver - Founder Online Payment Platform

One of the major assets available to all Rise programme alumni is access to Techleap.nl’s international networks. In this case, Rise was able to open the door for Richard to reach contacts at the Dutch embassy in Germany, as well as contacts with German banks. ‘They did the same thing for us in the UK actually,’ he says. ‘That really helped to speed up the whole process of opening bank accounts in those countries.’

‘In general, it always helps that we have been selected by a programme like this,’ he adds. ‘It gives us that stamp of approval and reinforces the story that we're telling to eBay and other clients – that we're a truly innovative fintech company with a lot in store.’

It’s impossible to quantify what makes the difference in client negotiations, but in November 2020, Richard announced that eBay Kleinanzeigen – the largest marketplace for the sale of (used) items in Germany – would be using Online Payment Platform to handle its online payments, escrow services and support. It was Online Payment Platform’s big international splash – a huge client in a huge market – and it set the company up for a phenomenal 2021.

‘eBay is fantastic, of course,’ Richard says. ‘But going further than eBay, we’ve met some other really interesting strategic partners – some of which we’ve already partnered with – through the Rise programme. Some of these things are still in process so I can’t talk about them just yet! But we have some more big partnerships right around the corner.’ 

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