Latest Zavers News
Mar 11, 2021
By John Adams March 11, 2021, 12:01 a.m. EST 3 Min Read REGISTER NOW For Brian Brinkley, innovation comes in waves, where the technology advancement is a prelude to the applied science that follows. "I learned two big lessons at Google," said Brinkley, who was on hand for the search giant's first mobile wallet. "First is you do what you need to do to make a payment wallet. Then you have to build something else to make that mainstream." Brinkley was the founder and CTO of Zavers, an omnichannel advertising and digital payment network. Google's payments unit acquired Zavers in 2011 to build back office and point of sale software for Google Wallet. Brinkley later led international development of a bundle called Zavers by Google along with Google Wallet. Brinke built marketing and advertising relationships for Google's mobile payment system with retailers, consumer packaged goods manufacturers, banks and other parties. Google Wallet was initially designed to ask for a strong commitment from card issuers which were still on the fence about mobile payments. Over the years, Google redesigned its mobile wallet several times as it streamlined the enrollment process for banks and narrowed the focus of its payment functions. Today, the wallet is called Google Pay. "I learned two big lessons at Google: First is you do what you need to do to make a payment wallet. Then you have to build something else to make that mainstream," said Brian Brinkley, CEO of QRails. Last month, Brinkley became CEO of QRails, a five-year-old Denver fintech that operates a cloud-based digital payment network. Brinkley first joined QRails in 2019 as chief technology officer, leading the company's alternative payroll project, which will now form the enrollment base for an expanding stack of budgeting, payment and incentive marketing features in the U.S., Latin America and Europe. QRails is attempting to address the pandemic's financial crisis, which has shattered work habits and disrupted cash flows. The past year has given rise to products that allow consumers to defer payments or receive their earnings faster. Brinkley is working on an instant payment product for human capital management, payroll processing and other payment features indirectly tied to payroll enrollment such as incentive marketing, financial planning and budgeting. The company is also working on a mobile wallet application that will be tied to payroll and HR management systems, using an API to allow uploads of different services. Brinkley refers to the mix of products as a "financial wellness" system that draws partly on the influence of ride-sharing apps that are using enrolled payment credentials to diversify services for consumers and drivers. Uber, for example, has partnered with Marqeta to power a variety of needs for contractors. Uber Eats drivers are issued cards that load following rider payments, and drivers can use these cards to manage funds and track budgeting. "We're working on that sort of model for the gig economy, or any company that has part-time employees or uses employees outside of their organization," Brinkley said. "Small businesses can't always do payroll, HR, and insurance, and there are hundreds of these companies out there that can use a software development kit." QRails has competitors that serve both the gig economy and firms that are offering employees early access to wages. Firms like Instant Financial and Tipalti serve gig economy companies, offering mass disbursements and tax form management. Other fintechs offer Earned wage access , a category that was originally positioned as a less risky alternative to payday lending, but has expanded quickly during the pandemic as more people struggle with finances and require faster access to salaries. There's an addressable market for alternative payroll and HR. More than 70% of American adults referred to the 40-hour workweek as outdated, and 61% say they should have access to their salary before payday, according to Kronos . "The alternative payroll space is blowing up," Brinkley said, adding QRails hopes to add bill payment tied to cash flow and budgeting with other payment features such as card-linked offers or loyalty points. "Most of the space is earned wage access firms. We're working as a card processor so we can build on top of that stack or work with fintechs." The technology's new but the philosophy isn't. While a decade seems like a century in financial technology, the concepts behind identifying a need, matching that to a technology breakthrough and diversifying through value additions isn't brand new for Brinkley.