InterviewInterview with Co-Founder and Chief People and Culture Officer, PicPay – Dárcio Stehling

FTB News Desk FTB News DeskDecember 10, 201918 min
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Dárcio Stehling Co-Founder and Chief People and Culture Officer, PicPay

Dárcio Stehling is a Co-Founder and experienced Chief People Officer with a demonstrated history of working in the financial services industry. He is skilled in negotiation, e-commerce, entrepreneurship, strategic planning, and marketing strategy. He has graduated from Universidade Federal do Espírito Santo.

1. Tell us about your role in PicPay?
I’m in charge of PicPay’s staff and culture, and manage the “Community & Culture” team. I have the challenge of pairing PicPay’s culture and its agility as a startup with the swift growth we project for the company’s new phase. Recently we opened an office in São Paulo and we’re on the way of more than tripling our staff, from 500 to 1.700 collaborators one year from now. Spreading and reinforcing a culture is a full-time job.

2. Can you tell us about your journey into this market?
Anderson Chamon (another PicPay cofounder) and I grew together in Vitória, Espírito Santo State, and we met Diogo Roberte (the 3rd PicPay cofounder) there, in a startup incubator. Before PicPay we were in business together, we saw our synergy and we were after a disruptive business, that would become popular and allow us to make a relevant transformation.

Looking at the internet boom in the late 90’s and analysing what was all that, we sensed that a big digital change was to happen around 2010, centered in the smartphones. By then a lot of things were available on the cellphone – but not money. Making payments from a desktop was already working fine, but not on a mobile platform. We were also bothered that QR codes were so underused.

We searched and found nothing of the kind, so in 2012 we created PicPay – a mobile payment app that uses QR code for transactions. Today, it is the biggest digital wallet in Brazil, with 12 million users.

3. How do you think technology is developing the Finance Sector?
Technology is democratizing access to the financial system and the creation of many digital companies, providers of innovative financial services and solutions, that meet people’s demands in a very transparent, simple and swift way. Fintechs like PicPay have been the best option for those who can’t, or won’t, have an account at a traditional financial institution. We offer many banking solutions and offer also, to our users, the choice of keeping a bank account or not – since it is no longer necessary, because they have PicPay.

In the last two years, we have also seen a series of changes in the financial system, motivated by the advance of technology and now, the finthecs. Brazil’s Central Bank is preparing the ground for Open Banking, as a way of promoting competition among banks. PicPay – a pioneer in the digital wallet business and in the use of QR code for financial transactions – now sees its disruptive strategy, that opened a brand-new market in 2012, being endorsed even by the big players.

4. How has introduction of digital wallets eased methods of payments?
Digital wallets are a global trend, as are QR code payments. According to digital marketing company Juniper Research, QR code’s use for payments will see a 300% growth between 2017 and 2022.

This happens because digital wallets meet three consumer’s expectations: security, easiness and swiftness. PicPay users don’t worry about carrying an actual wallet or a credit card when they leave home anymore. It implies a new relation with currency – which is slowly becoming obsolete.

There’s no way back from this digital revolution, and digital money is the future. It is becoming every day more real in China, where paper money’s use is fading and digital wallets are widespread. In Brazil, developing the digital payments’ culture is a matter of time. We must respect people’s timing and keep offering products that add value to the user’s experience to make this cultural change come faster.

And the change is coming fast: we open 500 thousand accounts per month, and the goal is 20 million users by July 2020. Besides that, we see around R$ 25 billion in transactions by next year – 15 times the 2018 result: R$ 1,7 billion.

5. How does your platform assure data protection of your users?
Security is a major investment at PicPay. It is a quite important point for the company and, from the start, one of the main elements in PicPay’s experience.

An example: we implemented recently a number of smart adaptive systems, making PicPay a pioneer in using artificial intelligence and machine learning as a security resource in Brazil. Many globally known banks still don’t apply this kind of technology. The security offered by the traditional banks, we have it on PicPay.

6. How do you differentiate your digital wallet from others?
PicPay has the startups’ agility and the means to innovate and respond quickly to the consumers demands. We’ve been in the market seven years now, and already solved the payments puzzle, so we can offer our users solutions and services much faster than the competition.

We can say PicPay is about to be Brazil’s first super financial app. With it the user can save money, invest it, transfer it, pay bills, withdraw it, get credit, along with a series of services: buy credits for cellphone and public transport pass, buy games, pay for parking and buy other services – all from the mobile phone.

7. What advice would you like to give to the Startups?

To be relevant, innovation needs purpose; you got to give people means to solve their problems.

Thinking outside of the box is the key, and also deliver the best solutions for the users.

8. Which Startup technology has grabbed your attention?
I’m always analysing what’s new in the market and see major advances in the use of machine learning to solve big old problems. This is going to be a game changer.

9. How do you prepare for a Technology-centric world?
Keeping updated is the way to face the new reality that is coming. You’ve got to be up to speed, keep an eye on trends and open to try new tools as they appear.

10. Can you tell us about your team and how it supports you?
I’m proud to work with hundreds of people highly skilled and committed, who share principles such as passion, infinite learning, “do it yourself”, moonshot thinking and a will to deliver and break paradigms. We give our team room to create, and the results have been very positive. These are wonderful people.

11. What are the major developments you are planning, in recent time?
We work at PicPay to offer useful financial solutions for our users. They’re our focus, and we’ll keep developing our products with them in mind. I can’t reveal now what’s coming for strategic reasons, but I can mention our last two products: 1 – the money left in the app yields returns bigger than those of a savings account; and 2 – PicPay Card – a credit line to be used with the app and a plastic card, to be used where QR code payment is not yet available.

12. Which Book are you reading these days?
“The Founder’s Mentality: How to Overcome the Predictable Crises of Growth”, by Chris Zook and James Allen. Quite interesting book, it highlights the most important aspects in a company.

13. We have heard that you have a very joyful work culture, we won’t mind having a look at some of the pictures.
Sure. We’ll send a few images of our workplace, which is cool, inclusive, open to diversity and values our collaborators’ comfort. But it’s important to make clear that, despite our great offices and environments, we want to be known for our capacity to change society.

14. Can you give us a glance of the applications you use on your phone?
I’d say I use a lot of what’s around. I have loads of apps in my cellphone and I test them all. Every now and then I take a time to get rid of a few.

FTB News Desk

FTB News Desk

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