Asif Ramji | Executive Profile | ATLANTA TREND
By Robert Green
Paymetric, the global leader in integrated payment and data security for ERP, has experienced a renaissance in recent years. Since Asif Ramji joined the company, as Chief Revenue Officer in 2009 and CEO in 2011, the company has experienced 15 quarters of record sales and double digit revenue growth. After leading the company to profitability, Asif is now moving it to success in a world wanting easier and more secure payments.
Asif Ramji was born in Kenya in 1972 and moved to Vancouver, Canada with his parents at the age of 3. His parents had moved to North America to work – his father in high tech printing and his mother in finance. “It was the typical story of pursuing a dream and a better way of life,” says Asif, “of leaving everything behind and starting fresh.” With raw ambition, Asif was an entrepreneur early on. At 18, he started his first company importing products from overseas and progressively became more interested in technology.
In 1998 Asif began his journey in the card business when he founded a company called Executive Card. Executive Card was a multi-merchant coalition loyalty business which combined loyalty card marketing with the power of the internet. Executive Card offered a proprietary search engine and provided incentives for customers to patronize various shops and restaurants. Asif sold the company after two years to a local venture capitalist and started eCardSolution Inc. in 2000. eCardSolution was a private label affinity card business, providing loyalty card applications to large regional and national clients in the hospitality, entertainment and sports marketing space. The company offered targeted demographic marketing in which “deals and steals” were sent to card holders including via e-mail. It was a new and innovative concept at the time. Asif sold the company after a year to an operating partner.
Both endeavors provided valuable experience. “I got into the payments business through loyalty and prepaid,” says Asif. “Looking back at it, prepaid and loyalty barely existed at the time and the most important thing was to recognize the opportunity and have enough nerve to go out and capture it.”
In 2001, Asif joined a company called Ernex Inc. as a founding executive. Ernex was a pioneer in the electronic gift card and loyalty space. It had the first real time loyalty program driven off of a Visa credit card in North America – the customer would know how many points they had earned immediately and was incented at the point of sale to return for bonus points. The real-time capability offered swipe and win functionality to merchants, along with the ability to customize a message at the point of sale. The core technology was driven off a sophisticated rules-based platform. With customers like Nike, Tommy Hilfiger, Eddie Bauer and New Balance, it was no surprise when Ernex was bought by Moneris Solutions, the largest payment processor in Canada. Asif stayed at Moneris for four years, working mostly on business integration issues and began reporting to the Moneris US President, Larry Wine. Wine later became the President and CEO of RBS WorldPay and recruited Asif to join him in Atlanta.
Joining WorldPay in 2007, Asif moved to Atlanta to become Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Card Services (Prepaid, & Loyalty) and ATM divisions. WorldPay has one of the largest “off premises” ATM business in North America. In his two year tenure at WorldPay, Asif successfully worked with Kroger Personal Finance and Blackhawk Network to launch one of the largest prepaid distribution deals, with over 60,000 locations selling Gift Cards and General Purpose Reloadable cards. After working both at Moneris and WorldPay, Asif embraced the executive positions in much larger companies. “I found the opportunity to channel my entrepreneurial skills and scale to the infrastructure of a much larger business” said Asif.
In 2009, Asif was recruited into a new challenge when he joined Paymetric. The company, known as the leading provider of integrated and secure electronic payment acceptance solutions for ERP, enables businesses to streamline the order-to-cash process. It also reduces the burden on their customers of achieving PCI compliance with great security via tokenization. The company was founded in 1998 and is backed by Austin Ventures and Palomar Ventures. Major customers include Fossil, Honeywell, Vera Bradley, J. Crew, Under Armour and many others.
The company was struggling when he joined and Asif set to work immediately. First as Chief Revenue Officer and later as CEO, he started to make changes. He converted the company from a seller of licensed software into a provider of software as a service (SaaS). This insured stability, scalability and profitability. Paymetric was able to switch nearly 100% of its customers to the new model. The move energized the company and set them on the path of growth. He recruited a new executive team and company performance changed. Company revenues have grown by a compounded annual growth rate of 38% since 2009. Paymetric processes over $25 billion of annual payment volume through its gateway today.
Prior to Paymetric, companies using SAP had to engage in a 21 step manual process for credit card payments. “Paymetric provides an elegant integration from payment origin all the way through the ERP system and back into the general ledger,” says Asif. Payments flow through the Paymetric gateway, which connects to all major payment processors, and removes many PCI concerns for its merchant customers. No raw card data flows through the customer ERP system since it is replaced with a token.
Paymetric approaches the market with three key products: 1) XiPay On-Demand – which enables companies to manage, accept and integrate virtually every type of electronic payment; 2) XiSecure On-Demand – which eliminates the transmission and storage of sensitive cardholder data; and 3) Data Intercept – which insures that cardholder data never enters the enterprise payment acceptance system. These products, and Asif’s leadership, have made the company both a thought leader in payments and an award winner. These awards include:
- SAP Pinnacle Award for Thought leadership and Credit Card Tokenization Solution Development 2008 and 2009
- Info Security Products Guide: Global Product Excellence for Tokenization 2011
- Info Security Products Guide: Global Excellence Management Team of the Year 2011
- TAG Top 40 Most Innovative Companies in Georgia: 2011 and 2012
Paymetric’s headquarters moved to Atlanta in 2009 and its operations are located in Austin, Texas. “Atlanta is a growing hub for innovative technology. It is home to some of the most prominent financial technology companies in the world. As the leading provider of secure enterprise payment solutions, Paymetric is pleased to be headquartered in the epicenter of it all,” says Asif.
After all this progress, Asif says that the company is now at an exciting inflection point. “We’ve earned the respect of the industry for our enterprise payment integration and security solutions” says Asif. “And we are excited to scale these solutions towards new global markets, as well as securing other elements of data including (PII) Personally Identifiable Information for our Fortune 500 clients. The emerging mobile payments industry also holds tremendous potential for Paymetric…”
Asif Ramji has been successful in both large businesses and small and has enjoyed working in both. While he has relished the role of CEO, his view is that the team is more significant than the individual player. “What’s most important to me is to have impact,” says Asif, “whatever the role. I want to contribute as much as possible and I try to surround myself with people who feel the same. This approach is the best way I know of to build a high performance team.”
Asif commenced his formal education at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, Canada and has studied Executive Leadership at the Harvard Business School and the Stanford University Graduate School of Business. He is a frequent speaker at technology and payment industry events. In his limited spare time he also serves on various business boards and works with a number of charitable organizations.
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