Based on the results so far, Episode Six‘s next-generation software for companies issuing payment products is a hit, CEO John Mitchell said.
Featuring future-proof technology, Episode Six allows banks, financial providers, and retailers to build highly customizable payments platforms that let them decide exactly what eWallet, loyalty and reward programs, and other payment options to offer their customers.
Based in Austin, Texas, Mr. Mitchell said he comes from a payments background, having worked at companies such as Rev Worldwide and Netspend that produce prepaid card solutions. During this period he met co-founder Futeh Kao who joined him to focus on the unbanked and underbanked.
“We found a niche and did really well, but we couldn’t always satisfy what our larger customers wanted,” Mr.Mitchell recalled.
So Mr. Mitchell and Mr. Kao set out to create a development platform with an open API set that enabled large companies to produce any type of payment products they wanted on their own terms and schedules. The finished product could either be hosted in a private cloud or in the company’s own data center.
The two have once again found a niche, one that is quite large, Mr. Mitchell said.
“If you take a 30-year time horizon and you look at credit and debit cards, they are they same they have been since many of us were in college. Maybe there’s a chip in them but there’s no additional benefit. Same card, same rails, probably processed by the same companies on old code.”
Those outdated systems do not adapt well and were designed before smartphones and cryptocurrencies. That makes it hard to create new products, Mr. Mitchell said. With Episode Six’s open API, companies can design products that foster universal redemption of loyalty points into payment transactions, allowing users to apply their rewards points at the store of their choosing.
“That addresses the common difficulty of trying to figure out how to redeem the points at a limited set of merchants,” Mr. Mitchell explained. “Our technology allows for the conversion from units you ascribe value to into any other kind of unit you can ascribe value to. You can convert a loyalty point into U.S. currency.”
Mr. Mitchell said Episode Six is finding success in Japan and Hong Kong, which provides a strong anchor from which to access China. Northeast Asia is an advanced market with an openness to American technology and debit and credit cards are regulated instruments of value.
Provide an adaptable system that allows customers to quickly bring their ideal product to market and you have a winner, Mr. Mitchell said. Given the choice, most would rather buy than build due to the expense and time involved.
What makes Episode Six’s technology so adaptable is that it is designed to allow for quick changes, Mr.Mitchell said.
“The light, flexible architecture of the code is such that if you want to add APIs, you can do so very quickly.”