Kent Vorland: A Maven in the Payments Landscape


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The payments industry is a rapidly changing landscape that is constantly in flux due to the introduction of new payment methods, mergers & acquisitions, and new technology. Especially as technology advances, payment technology companies are playing a bigger role in the payments industry—many of them are even merging with traditional financial institutions to cater to the latest customer and merchant preferences. Unlike in the past—when payment processing was simply about facilitating the fund transfer—the new players in the payment processing landscape are completely redefining the industry.

SimplyPayMe is one such award-winning global payments company taking the world by a storm. The company provides the most disruptive payment technology worldwide and is on a mission to become a market leader for payment solution software. The London-based company is piloted by Kent Vorland (Chief Executive Officer at SimplyPayMe). Leading the company through its evolution from a basic payment facilitator to a global market leader for payment solution software, Kent has ensured that the brand has remained true to its roots—viz. bringing value to SMBs—while accelerating its growth.

A Distinguished Career

In a career spanning two decades and multiple countries, Kent has become a maven in his field. He began his working life in the Norwegian Air Force before moving on to study economics in the US. He graduated Summa Cum Laude with high honors and forged a career on Wall Street.

Looking for greater challenges, Kent moved to London—where he began working with startups and SMBs before finding his niche in the global payments infrastructure. Pioneering the mobile payments space for SMBs—in his current role as CEO of SimplyPayMe—Kent has been instrumental to power the brand into becoming one of the most disruptive payment technology providers available worldwide.

Modular and White-labelled Mobile Software

SimplyPayMe is a global provider of payments technology and infrastructure. It assists banks, fintechs, and other large organizations to serve their sole trader and small business communities through modular, white-labeled mobile software. SimplyPayMe’s application provides seamless payment acceptance utilizing a mobile device. In addition, it can keep invoices and receipts in one place, CRM features, team management, and much more. The application provides everything required by a sole trader or small business to successfully operate their enterprise day to day. Furthermore, SimplyPayMe has recently automated invoice reminders for merchants to remind their customers of outstanding invoices.

Redefining the Vision and Structure

I just chose this, just as much as this chose me,” says Kent. He started as a consultant through a company he set up when arriving at London in 2015. Soon after, a company then called SmartTrade App hired Kent and he was appointed as its CEO in 2017. Since then, he completely transformed the company’s vision and structure which led to the company being re-established as SimplyPayMe in 2019. It was transformed from a B2C model—selling directly to end-users, to a B2B2C model where it provided its technology to larger, more established customers such as banks.

During this period, Kent had to take numerous difficult decisions, particularly on restructuring the company and the vision before there has been proof of success. “I may have a vision, but before there are tangible results. It is very difficult as a stakeholder of any kind to swallow a young, unknown coming in and telling them that the company and roadmap they have invested hard money in could be better,” he adds. He is thankful to both SimplyPayMe’s existing and new investors that have supported him and have been the cornerstones to the company’s success as well as his own career and mental health.

The Shift towards Online Payments

Due to the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, the payments industry has witnessed a shift. The face-to-face payments have been replaced by online payments which meant that the traditional payment providers took a hit, while eCommerce providers experienced a surge.

SimplyPayMe offers multiple types of payments including both face-to-face and remote charges. During these testing times, Kent’s main concern was making sure the company does what it can to inform its customers and help provide a safe environment for small business owners to continue being paid and deliver their services—without potential exposure for both SMBs and their customers.

As a provider of payments and invoicing solutions primarily focused on SMBs, SimplyPayMe witnessed a 97% drop in transaction volume. “It was like seeing the SMB economy slowly dying right in front of us,” says Kent. As a result, the company had to make a fast pivot by focusing on non-exposed payment methods. “It became an exercise in educating the public, our clients, and our end users on how to best use payments tech while staying safe,” continues Kent.

Growth, Brand Awareness, and Maturity

2020 made the world a different place. As a technology company that can provide solutions to accommodate this new climate, the year has been a door opener for SimplyPayMe. The larger companies have realized they can no longer hold out on serving SMBs and keeping up with digital and innovative solutions. The fast shift from physical to digital has also deemed it impossible for the larger companies to build their own competing technology. Thus, Kent believes that 2021 will be a year of growth, brand awareness, and maturity for SimplyPayMe.

Catering to the Market Needs

Today, a vast majority of companies in the payment industry tend to build the solution first and try to fit it into the market later. There are millions of ways of building a payment acceptance tool, but in most cases, this is built based on someone’s idea of what a good-looking solution should look like.

Commenting on this, Kent adds, “Just because it looks nice, doesn’t mean it is convenient or a good replacement for what’s already there. After all, with all the amazing tech we have in the world today, plastic cards and cash are still the go-to for a majority of consumers and merchants. Look at what the market needs first, then build a solution to fit, not the other way around.”

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