In this Prime Talk Podcast Video Sponsored by GETIDA – TJ Hyland, Head of eCommerce Partnerships at Payoneer – a global leader in eCommerce financial services, shares his professional story of entering the eCommerce industry, the early hacks he used to find Amazon sellers to sell financial services and how he was able to develop warm relationships with eCommerce sellers to better serve their needs. With the strength of building strategic partnerships and constantly innovating, Payoneer has become a global leader in servicing and supporting the rapid growth of the eCommerce industry with 17 offices worldwide and one of a kind corporate culture.
Find out more about TJ Hyland & Payoneer.
Learn more about GETIDA’s Amazon reimbursement solution software.
Find the Full Transcript Below
So, TJ, welcome to the show. Thank you so much for taking the time to see us today. How are you feeling how you’ve been?
TJ Hyland 00:38
Absolutely only I appreciate you. I know, we were joking before but you know, in this COVID-19 working from home situation, you gave me a reason to take a shower today. So I appreciate that.
Yoni Mazor 00:48
My pleasure. My pleasure. It always strikes me that every time we meet, it has some sort of liquid involved. Because you know, we had a good time together. Back in the summer, we went to a cruise ship in New York City, it was an awesome time you guys, you know, fan your sponsor this event, you essentially, for lack of a better word, it was like a yacht is like a big ship, you know, was for dinner and music and cruise around New York City. It was great. That’s kind of the first time I got a chance to really spend some time with TJ get to know him. And today gave more reason to take a shower. So, you know, all the good times?
TJ Hylanc 1:21
No, I mean, what you’re referencing is we put on a VIP event for our customers and, you know, just something to kind of show appreciation and who doesn’t like going out on the boat for a couple of hours. We had some drinks, we had some barbecue, so it was a pretty good time. Glad you enjoyed it.
Yoni Mazor 1:39
Thank you so much. It was awesome. Because you know, these days before the crisis before the Corona, and it’s like, it looks like a faraway dream Sweet dream. Okay, so today I want to, you know, I want you to expose yourself a little bit too, you know, people who are listening or looking at this episode. So let’s start with your background. You know, where are you from? You know, where do you go to school? How did you develop your professional career, so feel free to share?
TJ Hyland 2:04
Sure. So I am born and raised in New York, grew up in a place called Breezy Point, which is in the very southernmost point of Queens, right near Rockaway, which, where a lot of people know about, I ended up going to college in Washington, DC. And then after that, I stayed in DC.
TJ Hyland 2:24
I was kind of, you know, kind of how I fell into this e-commerce world was almost by chance, I started working at a company called World’s First which, you know, if you dealt in cross border payments for the last five years or so you definitely have run into them.
TJ Hyland 2:39
So I started working there almost by chance, I remember, I had a friend who works there, and my brother’s now-wife works there. And they were recently or they were about to launch the e-commerce desk in the US. And you know, be a little candid, I remember my brother talking to me about and he’s saying, you know, it’s really cool opportunity. They work with Amazon and I, you know, being however many years old, I was like, I don’t want to work for Amazon. I don’t want to work with Amazon. This is back in 2014. You know, if you ask me now, like, absolutely love to whatever you want. I’ll show up at the door.
Yoni Mazor 3:13
That’s interesting. Why did you have that mindset for me my personal experience, you know, we’re starting with Amazon was around 2011. And it was up and coming. And it was a positive for me. It was like, you know, why not try this out? But what was your take on it back in 2014?
TJ Hyland 3:26
To be honest that at that time, I didn’t even know that there were third-party sellers. I thought everything was just through Amazon. And I thought this was just some sort of like, I guess I didn’t necessarily realize the value that Amazon held at the time. I thought that this job was actually with Amazon, which even if it was that would have been a great job. But I was just reluctant. I ended up going in for an interview just for a general sales role. When I got hired and I started like two or three weeks later.
TJ Hyland 3:56
And, it’s almost cliche to say the rest is history because I’ve been in this e-commerce payment space for you know, now it’s coming on six or seven years and like it’s all I know, it’s all I breathe every single day. But to touch on that…
Yoni Mazor 4:10
It feels like DNA for you, huh?
TJ Hyland 4:13
Yeah, I mean, you don’t move I have moved from Worlds First at that point to Payoneer and, you know, they’re very similar companies paying you just a little bit different things. But in terms of helping businesses that are selling cross borders, it’s super similar stuff.
Yoni Mazor 4:34
But was it trigger a few if you don’t mind sharing with everybody? What was the trigger for you know, you switching it to Payoneer? I know there’s a kind of a story behind that. Not, necessarily your story. It’s more of a company story.
TJ Hyland 4:37
Well, yeah, so I actually left a little bit before that happened. But I’ll back up. I’ll tell you so I worked were well first in Washington DC for a year. And then we got a new CEO in the US and he wanted to open an office in Austin, Texas. So about a year and..
TJ Hyland 5:00
I decided that my team, our e-commerce team was the one that was going to move there to sort of open this office. So I did and I moved and I was very happy in Austin. I was there for about four years. And then in the fall of 2018, I ultimately was approached by Payoneer to head up the e-commerce team, e-commerce partnerships team in New York. So there’s an opportunity for me to come home to New York and do similar things actually, probably a step up from what I was doing.
TJ Hyland 5:33
When I left Worlds First, but to touch on what you were saying about the world first, yeah, what happened afterward, I guess, essentially. Yeah. So I left in about October and then January of the next year, about three months after 90 days after, yeah, they ended up selling. Well, they ended up shutting down their entire US operation in preparation for their larger step, which was they sold to ant financial, which is a Chinese, Chinese finance arm of Alibaba. So, you know, in hindsight, you know, I was really nervous about leaving Worlds First, I love the Worlds First, I was there for, you know, many, many years. In hindsight, the move was incredible, because I was able to then be at Payoneer and, you know, when a lot of the sellers that I had worked with and a lot of the partners and businesses that I had worked with, we’re looking for a new solution and kind of lost because they kind of sprung the information on everyone in a matter of you know, one day and said You really have to get this figured out in it right?
Yoni Mazor 6:36
I remember those days were kind of dramatic days for all the, you know, the customer that they had and basically pioneer welcomed them all and open arms and luckily had you in the team to accommodate that transfer. So it’s probably like a glove for you guys.
TJ Hyland 6:50
Yeah, I think it was a really unique opportunity. And you know, I’m super grateful that I was there already and learn new about Payoneer so that when that happened, I could, you know, be available and reach out to the relative people like, you know, the shipping companies and the VAT companies and all these people to message their clients because whether Payoneer was gonna message them from our own base or, you know, people reached out to me on LinkedIn or Facebook or whatever, you know, the partners that have these other solutions also have their customer basis, we’re also looking for a new solution, kind of in a split notice. So ultimately, it ends up working out really well obviously Payoneer got quite a bit of business from World’s First leaving the market.
TJ Hyland 7:34
You know, but there are some other players in the market too, that you know, OFX, that did pretty well, and got, you know, services these businesses as well.
Yoni Mazor 7:47
Got it. So let’s test you know, your position in World First, you know, that was kind of your first dabbles with, you know, the professional world or the business, you know, you are your function really over there. And after your transfer to Payoneer, but what changed or developed afterward when she’s transferred?
TJ Hyland 8:03
Sure. So to touch on the workforce, as I mentioned, I joined doing sort of an entry-level sales position. This is before the days of a lot of the software. So I would go on and, and look at Amazon, UK and try and find us-based sellers and look at Amazon Germany and France and Spain, and vice versa. And basically, look for them, find a company name and a lot of like research base, and then ultimately selling.
Yoni Mazor 8:32
So you run a scenario with me you’re in Amazon UK, you find a how do you find a seller, you know, walk me through this experience for you?
TJ Hyland 8:44
Sure. So this is the case of how it was, you know, six, six years ago or more, not necessarily the case anymore. But what we would do is a lot of Google search techniques. So you put amazon.co.uk in quotes, because that’s the part that you really want. And then you’d put us or NY for New York or you’d put certain zip codes because on the actual page where it lists the products, it doesn’t show any of that information. But when it shows your reviews, and you about the selling business, the UK region and European region required you to put your company information address and all that the US region did not Canada did not. So it was really an advantage to us so that we could use these Google search techniques, find that and then what you have to really do is sometimes there’s a phone number sometimes there’s not sometimes it’s an email sometimes there’s not most of the time not. So then you have to take the company name that you just found. And search on Amazon to see if they sell because sometimes the US provides different info. Not necessarily any more any better, but different. And then you go to like Google or other like company information, or you find a phone number may be or an email or
TJ Hyland 10:00
If there are more well known brands, a lot of times you can email info at whatever the brand is.com your guy like that.
Yoni Mazor 10:08
Interesting. So basically, as far as I understand, the European platform of Amazon was able to give you some sort of a thread, you can start pulling and pulling and pulling. And once you do, and, everything connects together, you’re able to find, you know, the constant contact info of certain sellers. And let’s say you found the seller, what your periods were, what do you do? What’s the next day?
TY Hyland 10:32
Yeah, that was just to get a guy to the door, right? I was just on the phone, or like, sending an email or anything like that, from there. You know, it wasn’t, it isn’t really a tough sell, because from back then, it was you who were using Amazon currency converters..
TJ Hyland 10:48
Which was charging you premium anywhere, anywhere three to 4%, on, on your FX conversions, or you use a company like World First at the time, and we would charge anywhere from, you know, one to two and a half percent, you know, it, we’re saving you money, there’s no immediate one or 2% from the top. That’s, that’s great savings. Right. So if you’re doing significant money overseas, which a lot of people were at that time, you know, it’s a really easy way to add a couple dollars to your bottom line. And, you know, once there was always the trust factor, because there you know, I from a company, they don’t know, found a number called them up, it’s them this thing to change their bank accounts in Amazon. So it really took off, you know, in a lot of the community in Brooklyn, and how things spread around Brooklyn, and this guy’s good, this guy’s good use, this guy got a good rate, this guy can help. So, you know, word of mouth definitely helped grow the business and helped me get to meet a lot of different people too. So I did direct selling like that for about two years. And in that time, I feel like we at World First really captured the market of the largest sort of resellers in the space. So I had the opportunity to then transition over to our account management team. And, I really thought that was a logical move for me, because I was able to then build upon the relationships that I had already created from a sales perspective. And now instead of just bringing people onto World First, you’re enabling and helping them to grow within a World First. So if you’re just selling in the UK, sell a credit to Germany, France, Italy, Spain, if you’re just selling into Canada, why don’t you consider the UK and vice versa?
Yoni Mazor 12:35
So basically, by you know, you know, first of all, you give them the immediate savings. The next added value, as far as you guys are concerned, is, you know, expand their horizons, expand their understanding that there’s more opportunities out there and make them you know, recognize it. And of course, if they do, you know, it’s going to be beneficial for them, and hopefully also beneficial for you guys, because it’s gonna be more currency conversions, which is a win win proposition. That’s an interesting combination.
TJ Hyland 12:59
Yeah. So like, we were incentivized to help them grow and sell more. So you know, we would really want them to get the best price on FX so that they had more money to turn around and buy more stock and sell more stock and then bring it back through us and kind of just constantly feed the circle. Or feed the flywheel.
TY Hyland 13:27
So from there, I mean, I did the account management thing for about two years. And then you know, with that you get very involved with the partners you know, like a cheetah First Choice Shipping, A Vast, like people that have Teikametrics, ones that I know I’ve been around here for a while. So I got to know these people a lot, and very well. So for the last six months, I was there, I was doing a bit of partnership, and then that kind of led me to move over to Payoneer.
Yoni Mazor 13:55
Okay, so let’s transition into Payoneer now. So you know, it’s a pretty good description of your, your world that World First. And now let’s touch the second world of a world of Payoneer right?
TJ Hyland 14:07
Yeah, if I’m being honest with you, like I said, I was super nervous to leave well, first, it was really the only company I’d worked for had been you know, five years there, and you know, whenever you switch jobs whenever you do anything, you know, there’s a bit of risk in but I’ve I felt like there could have been more potential upside for me personally, my personal growth and I was staying within the industry so I wasn’t changing too many things. It’s not like I was trying to go do head of partnerships at you know, a media company. That’s I just wouldn’t know what to do right.
Yoni Mazor 14:41
Right. It’s more foreign to this, more strange to you anyway.
TJ Hyland 14:44
Staying within the e-commerce world in Payoneer. Now I realized, but they always did a lot more than just e-commerce, you know, helping cross-border sellers. So that’s kind of where I am now. But you know, when I joined, it was a couple of weeks a month or two into you know, and then World First shut down. So that first sort of six months in that role, I was very heavily involved with helping sellers and bringing on those e-commerce partners, and really building the ecosystem up. There wasn’t much of an ecosystem because I think a lot of the top partners were working with World First. So now they had the opportunity to work with me and to work with Payoneer. So we would want, I went through and, I would pick the top, you know, shipping company, like I said, and refunds and VAT and translation, and this and the other and ads, and, you know, have them work with us, yes, they have options, and they can work with whomever they want. But, you know, I had known them for the last couple of years. And, you know, that’s how I’ve always done my business is very relationship-based. So I know more about people than just their name and their job title, you know, I know that this person has a husband and a wife, and this one has kids, and this one lives here, and vacations here. And this is what they do, because, in reality, you spend a lot more time with people on a work basis, whether it’s in your own company, or companies you interact with, then then you do your own family on a daily basis. So you know, you want to have good relationships, you want to, you know, be with people that you like, and you want to talk to, you know, not you’re not going to like everyone, that’s just pretty easy to say. But you know, if you put the effort in and you show that you care more than just a transactional basis, or a transactional relationship, then there’s really a lot of opportunities. And that’s one of the big things about Payoneer is as a business, you know, my role aside as a business, it’s, it’s really relationship-based. And everyone from the top down to our CEO, Scott is, is a really, really awesome, really smart guy and like, knows everything that’s going on in every part of the business. And he cares for you. And he knows where you live and what you do and what you do for fun and what you do on the weekend. So it just makes it a really great place to work,
Yoni Mazor 17:00
Right, you guys have like more at this point, probably more than 1000 you know, people in your organization, but someway somehow you guys are able to still make it feel like you know, a large extended family, you know, I say this as a client, you know, I use your services. And it’s, and I feel it when I come to the events, and they you know, I, you know, I rub my shoulders with you and somebody else on the team is a very good talent and good, warm people are there, you know, I never met Scott. But if he’s listening, then I can certainly vouch for the fact that it feels very warm, very welcoming. It’s beyond the money. It’s not just like you said, the transactions, it’s, there’s a culture, you guys really represent a culture out there and you’re supporting a lot, a lot of the activities of e-commerce education, almost every show every event, every conference, you know, and especially the ones are focused on educating search sellers and expanding their horizons, you guys are there. I think that connects to you know, your initial, you know, workplace with World First, where you experienced that with that value. And you took it into Payoneer. And I think you’re actually leveraging your skill, your interpersonal skill to develop that for Payoneer. It just puts it out there for them as a company to really support the efforts of e-commerce and empower them, you know, all the sellers, and they do it in a warm welcoming way. And that really represents your culture, my I guess your personal culture and the culture of the company. And it does resonate. So I found that very, very impressive that you guys are able to do it on such a large scale because, you know, I know that we know and our position we focus more on the Amazon side of things. But like you said, you guys are a whole world out there. There’s, you know, share with us a little bit of outside the Amazon-like what’s the scope for with Payoneer at this point?
TJ Hyland 18:44
Yeah, we’ll talk a little bit about Payoneer first and I’ll talk about what we do. We have 17 offices around the world, I think a little over 1600 employees. So our headquarters are here in New York. But like, as you mentioned, when we started we have quite a big presence in Israel, I think we have probably had about 800 people in Israel. And then we have a third hub in Hong Kong that really helps with our Asia region. So we have a couple of offices in China and Southeast Asia and the Philippines, Australia as well. So we actually just launched a new office about three or four months ago in Argentina. So it’s our first real venture into Latin America. Yeah. So we have a woman named more Fernandez leading up activities in Latin. And she used to work at Mercado Libre. So that’s the biggest marketplace. Yeah. And that’s the biggest March I got the word Right. Yeah. In Latin. So, you know, we’re hiring the best talent we’re trying to, you know, continue to build on the culture that you mentioned, you know, when it’s easier to have that in, you know, how, like New York or Israel or Hong Kong, but you know to fully resonate that out and make sure those people feel like they’re part of the pain your family
Yoni Mazor 20:10
On a global level that’s what I want to point out there a global level that’s the greatest accomplishment here if you were good at where you locally based out of you know that’s fine that’s cool but if you’re able to do it on a global level and replicate this kind of a feeling across the world and so many cultures that is, you know, you become a powerhouse in a way.
TJ Hyland 20:28
Well, that’s exactly what you mentioned. Like it’s tough enough being in different offices, but also different cultures, because you know how things work in China versus Israel versus New York, are obviously very different. Oh, yeah. But from a product perspective, as we touched on, so yes, we work with SMBs. We work with businesses that are selling across borders, helping them bring back their funds, better exchange rates, make international payments, stuff like that.
Yoni Mazor 20:54
Those are the fundamentals that are easy to understand for anyone listening, but what else? What else is out there for you guys
TJ Hyland 20:59
On the other side, we kind of sit in between the seller on this site, and we sit between the marketplace on this side? So we have an enterprise arm of our business that works with a lot of the marketplaces for mass payout solutions. So some people know this, some people don’t but if you sell on Walmart, you have a Payoneer account
Yoni Mazro 21:22
By default that you guys are like, you know, back in the day used to be PayPal was, you know, the processing payment platform for eBay. Essentially, for Walmart, there’s no other way you have to have a Payoneer account in order to get paid from the Walmart marketplace.
TJ Hyland 21:34
Right. So if you’re selling anything on Walmart or getting on one payment, you have a Payoneer account. Now, the good part of that is if you don’t want to use your Payoneer account, you don’t need those funds to go automatically to your bank account. Great. I think the best part is that if you want you can stop those funds from Walmart back into your Payoneer account. And then it opens you up to a whole sort of variety of ways to do things with your funds if you need to pay a supplier or pay a freelancer to pay VAT or tax. And ultimately, yes, you can bring it back to your own bank account. Yeah, so with that we work with on the B2B side, we work with e-commerce sellers, we work with banks, and we work with you know, this is really just on the partnership front. But then we also launched from, for a seller perspective, we launched a working capital product last year. So it was really driven out of customer feedback. So we realized that you know, we can only do so much for international sellers, we provided all these different receiving accounts, we allowed them to pay VAT pay suppliers, but there was not a lot to do. And we also realize that the largest market in the US in terms of the number of sellers. And we don’t have any product to service, the largest number of sellers in the largest market on amazon.com. So it really left a gap. So we went off and created our own working capital solution…
TJ Hyland 23:06
To really help fix and plug those cash flow gaps along the way. So whether you’re selling overseas or selling into the US, you’re eligible to use that solution.
Yoni Mazor 23:17
A small question about that. So let’s say I sell in the US or sell in Germany, you guys offer the working capital and the foreign currencies. And so if I’ll get you as a US seller will get us dollars in the US and we get the euros in and Europe. Is that? Is that the way it is?
TJ Hyland 23:27
Yeah. So right now we have it for Amazon, us, Walmart, us, and Amazon, UK. And we’re soon to roll out in the other regions.
Yoni Mazor 23:49
In the Uk, it will be great British pounds. And so Exactly. So you know, the moment you open up a marketplace, you eventually essentially supplying the funding and the local currency. Right. So now we have that capacity, which is impressive. It’s pretty. It’s just a small technical question. I don’t know if you know the answer. But does Amazon provide lending to European sellers? I know, of course, we all know that in the US Amazon capital provides lending but is that also the case in Europe or other Amazon markets? As far as you know?
TJ Hyland 24:1
So I’m pretty sure they do it similar to how we do it. So now really, there are some limitations on where the seller is based, but it’s we are underwriting the amount that we’re offering based on your sales on Amazon us so you can be based in say Canada selling on Amazon US and that’s how we’ll determine your offer. So you those clients, definitely clients of Payoneer US and that’s kind of how it all goes into it. You know, we talked about the working capital solution I could probably talk for days it’s really cool and, and you know, it’s we have a lot of success stories on you know, helping people get that quick injection of cash to, you know, increase their ad spend or buy a new product or you know, their suppliers, offering a deal, if they buy 10,000 more units, it’s it ends up being half, you know, three-quarters of the price that it would be, but they don’t have that cash on hand. That’s exactly what it’s really meant
Yoni Mazor 25:10
So basically you’re saying the elements of increasing your purchasing power and reducin