Charlie Ward: Hello everyone, and welcome to the Ramen Club podcast. Today's special guest is none other than the awesome Che Sampat*.* Who at the ripe old age of 19, has already founded a couple of payment companies and is a Senior Software Engineer at VEED amongst other things also works at Fast.
Yeah, looking forward to this Q and A, so yeah. How are you doing Che?
Che Sampat: Yeah good thanks, thank you for having me on.
Charlie Ward: Yeah, all good all good man. Longtime coming. So there's quite a lot of stuff we could talk about, I feel. But maybe the first place to start before we get into say Superpay is just a bit more about your background.
Like, how did you get into Indie Hacking, building products and stuff in the first place? And at such a young age.
Che Sampat: Yeah. It started off, I'd always had somewhat of an interest in like computers in general. Like one of my very early experiences to computers were maybe when I was like eight or nine.
And when we had just bought like ourfirst home PC, and it would connect up to like their TV and we could play games on it and we would watch movies via iTunes on it. And that's what really did interest me. So then at my dad's company, this is Easter holidays when I was maybe 13, 14. I said, Hey can I come in and just help out? I didn't know how to help out, but it was just, Hey, just let me just come and do something. So he said, yeah sure. Like we have some laptops that you can help fix that were broken. I was for my age, it was pretty nifty with laptops at the time, like usually better than my parents.
So I would always help out with stuff like that. So I started doing basic, like IT support helping out the like IT manager there just doing like basic stuff. Like even if I was asked to like, fix the like screws on, off, like on a chair. Yeah, sure.
Charlie Ward: And this is your dad's accountancy firm ihorizon, right?
Che Sampat: Yeah. And then that sort of carried on for a short while, and then I started to learn how to code at school and they had introduced us to Python. And then that then really just quite amazing. I was like, wow, this is insane. So I just went home and like a few solid weeks.
I spent every single day, like before school, during school, or after school just learning to program this is just all in Python and really basic stuff. And then my first sort of proper, I say proper project, but my first project was like at school. They had put in this like new system that would like filter websites on all of the school computers.
We couldn't play any games on it, which is pretty common. Like during lunch or during computer science lessons, you would just have a games window open to the side and you'd be playing games while the teacher wasn't looking well. They had brought in this new system that would block these like quite well, actually.
So I said, oh, like it, it would be really cool if I could build something that could get around this. So my first like little project was this. It was like a, it was basically a glorified reverse. That basically I would curate the light games and I like scrape them off the internet and then stick them in like an I-frame.
And then I proxy that request through another suburb that was not connected to the like school's network. And then that is how we got around it. And I'd actually named the domain. I've got this like free domain and I'd named it The School and it was like, N for grammar dot TK.
And then that would be all games website. And it was very hard for them to block it because then they'd have to book keywords, like the school's website name, which obviously can happen. Yeah, that was like my first little project and it actually worked. And like everyone at school was like using it. And then I was known as the guy that got the games back.
Charlie Ward: I love that, you must have been a legend at the school.
Che Sampat: But no, yeah, it definitely didn't put me in the good books that bit with the IT there.
Charlie Ward: Yeah, I can imagine, I can imagine. I feel like this is like how a lot of entrepreneurs start by, like hacking a system at a young age and they take that like approach and just apply it to business while sort of thing. Was there any other sort of things that you like, the workarounds and hacks like that you did a young age?
Che Sampat: Yes, and then this was actually the one that liked sparked Superpay. It was at my company and they were using PayPal and that at the time. And PayPal was like giving them grief and it was like withholding like thousands of pounds of funds for no good reason.
And then I said, oh what if it would be just really cool if we could just send our clients like a link and then they just tell us how much they want to pay. And then it comes straight into our bank account. And then I'd like just literally just search online, how to take payments online. And the first thing that came up was like Stripe and they made it sound really easy.
So I said, okay surely this can't be that hard. So over the course of I think it was like just two, three days. I just whipped up a really quick like Jenga website that did exactly that our team would enter in an amount, would hit generate, and then would send the client a link and then the client could pay.
And it was that simple. And then when, then I realized actually, okay, this is actually working like this guys are finding it useful would if other companies are going to find this useful. Then I spent my Christmas holidays turning it into a slightly different version of the app where other companies could sign up.
It still did the very basic, just enter an amount. We'll send it to them. They can payout that, that was the only thing it did. But I just made it so that other companies could then sign up. And then I had to teach himself a bunch of other things, because suddenly it was like on building it up than not has just got to work for one company, but it's got to support many other companies and those companies can't see each other's payments, et cetera, et cetera.
And yeah, that was like the first thing I like hacked together that actually was live in production and that other people were using.
Charlie Ward: Yeah, gotcha. So it was originally something to help you out by horizon. And did you decide that you want us to charge from that from day one or was that more natural, organic progression?
Che Sampat: No, from day one it was charged like 1% per transaction. Just because of how easy Stripe made it, like Stripes own docs were like, oh, if you want to take a transaction fee with this, just pass in the number one into this request, and then you get paid. So I was like let us do that.
Charlie Ward: Yeah, and then what would you say the elevator pitch is for Superpay? I have described it before as it's like creating, a checkout page built on top of Stripe, without having to write a line of code. Would you say that's right? Or would you say it's more than that as well?
Che Sampat: I would say it's more of a, it's a payments platform for small businesses. It's aimed at the non-technical user who maybe don't even have a website. Like a lot of our customers don't even have a website. They may be just have a Facebook page like that. That is how they verify with Stripe.
They just have a Facebook page. So if you start throwing terms at them oh, embed this in your website, or create your product catalog and all, like all of these kinds of stuff that for them, they just want to take a payment. Like they literally just want to log on type, like type in a customer to type it in the mountain it's set and then send it, then send them a link and that's it.
And then everything else has just got to work. That was really from day one sort of what I wanted Superpay to be. And that is definitely what it is today.
Charlie Ward: Yeah, awesome. So how long since you started it and what stage is it now in terms of like users or revenue or whatever sort of metrics you're comfortable sharing?
Che Sampat: Yeah. So like from a metrics perspective, we have I think we processed around like 15 million in GMV last year. GMV - gross merchandise volume is how much, like how many payments that we have processed on behalf of our merchants. And then we take like a 1% fee of that.
Our MRR is harder to measure just because we don't charge any monthly recurring fees. It's just purely transactional. But like to give you an idea, like a few months ago, we were doing around 8k in revenue per month. And then in terms of like profits wise, like our costs are minimal.
It's actually just me and my sister. And then we've got like a few infrastructure tech costs.
Charlie Ward: Family business, I love it. Yeah. And how did you grow to that level? What were the kinds of things that you found that work and maybe that you tried and didn't work?
Che Sampat: Definitely, I think one of the big, one of the main reasons why they work was because we built on top of the trusted partner payments in itself is extremely sensitive. Most businesses are very risk-averse when it comes to their payments. So if we wanted to enter the market as almost like a white label, like completely white labeling Stripe, it just being this magical payments platform that just made it work.
And we had all of the Stripe details behind closed doors. I don't think we would have been anywhere near as successful as where we are now. And by building on top of that trusted partner, we got access to an entire ecosystem of customers and a marketplace that gave us validation that gave us a sticker to put on our website that said, we like, we are a verified partner with.
That was like, I think one of the single biggest reasons why we got to the stage was because we were building on top of a trusted partner that really encouraged that like marketplace as opposed to, if we tried to build on Adyen or Braintree or checkout.com or any of the, or any of the other payment processes where they don't have that level of gravitas around everyday businesses because they, they all aim at enterprise. But it's yeah, that is really where I put down, like where we get the most, our customers and why it works and why people trust us.
Charlie Ward: Yeah, no, a hundred percent. I totally get that. I'm curious, how were you thinking about Platform risk. So I guess with being on any marketplace, there's huge benefits to it. Do you ever think about the kind of trade-offs or potential? This is not me saying like you should have done anything different of course not. But I'm just wondering, do you ever think about that in terms of say Stripe building something that could be some kind of threat has, for example, it has payment pages had any, how do you think about the sort of thing?
Che Sampat: No, yeah, like definitely like payment links has had an impact in that customers that just come to us solely for that like payment link functionality who are maybe slightly above. Not completely tech illiterate that we'll be happy to use like Stripe payment links just cause it is pretty straightforward.
And of course though, yeah, Stripe is encroaching more and more into their like no code offering. So what now we're like starting to do, and this is what I'm actively working on now is moving away from just being a payments platform and moving more into the customer enablement side of things, because like payment is just one part of the puzzle.
It's obviously a very important part, but there are things that you can put like before and after it, that add additional value. So the before is like all customers don't have websites. Like they don't have somewhere. Yeah, sure. They can have something together on like Facebook pages, but for most they just want somewhere to be able to display all of their products in one page and just, it works like they just press add products and they type in their detail and they get everything automatically generated for them. Or like that, like after things like connecting to like various like different systems but releasing digital goods.
So there are things on both sides of the equation that we're now starting to focus more on as, as opposed to just that payments platform in the middle.
Charlie Ward: Yeah, got you. Yeah, so taking the idea of like end-to-end payment solutions, like a different level kind of thing. So from the website, am I right in saying all the way to the customer portal, which is like your latest product?
Che Sampat: Yeah. So that's yeah. For those who don't know what SWAT super portal is it's essentially, so Stripe also has a customer portal. But one thing is not about it is you need to be able to write code, to be able to actually integrate it. And actually that's the authentic at your customers. So what Super portal does is it basically sits on top of your customer portal and ingests all of your Stripe customers to our database.
And then we then give you a like page that you can send any customer to, they can enter in their email and we will authenticate them for you and sign them into that portal. So it takes the burden off you completely as managing access to this portal. And we do that all for you.
This is actually a separate product to Super portal too. Just because it sits in a slightly different category of users. These are users that have use Stripe already in some shape or form such as payment links, but then I've now found, that hold on I don't have a way for these customers to update or manage their appendix a so slightly different type of user, but still the same, like fundamentals.
Charlie Ward: Yep. Gotcha, gotcha. And I want to get onto something I will actually, I definitely also want to ask. So a lot of people in the hacker community are quite interested in the new sort of Stripe app offering where you can build apps within the Stripe dashboard. I was just wondering if someone who's built on Stripe a lot, like if you got any kind of initial impressions of it in terms of like its potential for Bootstrappers to build on top of, or what do you think?
Che Sampat: Yeah, no. Yeah, I was really excited when that came out as well. Because it very much, obviously it is a new product, so it doesn't have all of the like bells and whistles and it's still missing some like key functionality that like, I think a lot of apps would like expect. But it's definitely going in the right direction. And Stripe is realizing that it's got a very strong like partner marketplace want like one, or bring them further into the Stripe experience. And I really do think that this is a really good fun. And it's going to enable like a whole different class of apps, how they're going to monetize them, or if you even can monetize Stripe, perhaps that is something that Stripe hasn't made clear as of yet as to how you can monetize these Stripe apps.
It would be interesting to see, I see these more as integrations as opposed to standalone products. So for example, we have Superpay. So we let's say, we decide to like, get into like digital goods. So like as soon as someone pays, we then release like an ebook or a PDF, or we give them access to a course.
I can definitely see the value in us building a Stripe path so that when you go into your customer in Stripe, we can show you all of the, like all of the digital goods that this customer has got access to. And you can like one-click rescind, or you can one-click upgrade them, like the new version or all these types of things that are actually in an extension of your product. I think a really useful. Building an entire app or an entire product and like Stripe has. I think it'd be very hard. But yeah, I think they're definitely going in the right direction.
Charlie Ward: Yup, yup. Gotcha. And so I want to go on to Supercharged, which is your latest invention. But before we get there, I'd like to touch a bit on your day job. You're like, cause you also work, like you're not full time on Superpay. So you know, you, weren't originally, ihorizon at your dad's accountancy company, I'm sure you also to do some bits and pieces here and there. So you were there then at Fast the payments company and also, and now you're at VEED.
So what was Fast? Tell us about that story.
Che Sampat: What was fast? Wow. Fast was a very unique experience. It was amazing. It was genuinely on the inside. Like one of the most like exciting, enthusiastic, like all of their, like keywords you associate with these like high growth startups and how everyone talks about, oh, like this is like the best place to work at. On the inside, it genuinely felt like everyone, there was truly like super excited super-duper ambitious and were truly like the world-class of their industry and the people that I got to work with, there were like some of the best engineers and some of the best product managers and some of the best designers I've ever worked with, or like actually met in person or even met over like video calls.
They were truly world-class. Obviously, the ending wasn't, but there is apparently such thing as too much of a good thing when it comes to people and companies. We just had, we just had too many good people. And then obviously the markets weren't too kind to us at that time. So we got caught in a bit of a jam. And the short story is we just run out of money. That's literally it, like we had customers, we had a really strong pipeline. We actually, our numbers were like looking at in comparison, Like we were only two years old. But things were looking like really strong, but we just ran out of money. But no, yeah, my, I learnt a lot there. Definitely. For it's really weird. We went from like a scrappy, had we went from a really scrappy company to actually what was becoming a very mature, almost. Very quick. Like I still just transitioned. I was only there for five, six months, but I could really see the dynamic between what, like a scrappy startup looks like. And then what does a mature enterprise or organization look like, which is pretty unique. Unlike what different, like controls and peoples in departments and why, what do processes look like at a 500 person company? Like how do you still ship costs? How do you still improve your products and things don't grind to a hault? That was pretty interesting.
And like, how do you coordinate, like a huge engineering to actually deliver large scale products because things are actually moving in, tend to be like, even to the very last day people were shipping stuff. And I think that definitely showed to the people there as well, like the level of professionalism and like really the, like world-class in this.
Charlie Ward: What lessons do you find that you're applying the most from that experience? I mentioned this too that there's too many to mention. But is there any that you find like perhaps the most surprising or just that keep recurring sort of thing?
Che Sampat: Yeah, yeah, definitely. Not everything aat Fast was perfec and it's harder, it's harder to take the things that worked and then try to replicate them somewhere else. Only because the reason why those things worked was usually a combination of a dozen different things. It wasn't just one thing that they made this one bright decision. So it's hard to take things that worked, but it's easier to take a look at things that didn't work that failed completely.
So one example of this is that because. So quickly, and we are hiring so many engineers and we were like growing our team really quickly. Our processes didn't have time to catch up. Like I, and like I was at the end of their last doubling cycle. And even then all the processes, didn't catch up to where we needed it to be.
And we, and it was coming increasingly hard to move the needle on things, especially because we were like a microservices architecture. And then somebody that you would find is like each team had their own microservice and they owned it. But each microservice looked different. Look like, look differently, work differently. Had it had like different patterns and different idioms that actually, if you want it to move teams, or if you want it to fix something in someone else's like service because it impacted. You couldn't because they would feel that you were onboarding them into a brand new company. So and I think it's something that I think bead is getting very bright is that we're keeping things simple, like from an architecture perspective and from a technology perspective, simple, it better always and like only add complexity when you really need to, because the real cost of complexity is not the cost of implementation.
It's the cost of maintenance. It's the cost of every time you're onboarding a new engineer, you now have to teach them another system, another process. So if you start your code base from a high base of complexity, the more people you add, that complexity only compounds every time you add a new person. Whereas if you started from a really low base of complexity, as you add people, it makes it much easier to onboard them and then slowly evolve your process. So definitely one of the things that I definitely learned from Fast, and it's good to see that we're doing it somewhat correctly, it beat well, I'm learning a lot right now.
Charlie Ward: And that kind of naturally takes us on to VEED. So why don't you tell everyone what you're doing at VEED?
Che Sampat: Yeah, so I work on the, I work on the monetization team. Our job is basically everything payments at VEED. And so it's like everything from that first customer interactions on the pricing page into getting them on, into getting them into the app to like taking payment.
But if payment fails, like how do we recover them? Churnig, upgrades, downgrades like different like feature management stuff. So certain users have access to like center things based on. So based on what they paid. So anything that revolves around money that is like what our team by really focused on.
Me specifically, I work on the. So I'm currently building out our new payment service. We're currently in the transition from a monolithic application, so where everything at VEED would be sounded like one app to more of a microservices architecture. I call it microservices, but it's more, no, it is. It is, but it's not, it's very low in terms of complexity.
It's very low in complexity. It's very simple to understand every service looks the same. It's deployable really easy. So that's definitely that they got service. They got microservices really I think so I'm currently working on the transition of the payment service from our monolith into its new own dedicated service.
And that will allow us to move quicker, ship faster and unlock cool things like pricing experimentation. So like one thing we just want to be able to do is let's say for 10% of the traffic in the US if we have. Do we get 60% more users? If so, that's, that is something to consider. So now, yeah, that is what I'm focusing on at VEED.
Charlie Ward: Yeah. I'm a big proponent of a pricing experiment, experimentation treating it like a feature like everything else. That's amazing. And I find from talking to, oh, by the way, for those that aren't familiar with VEED video editing a browser-based tool one of the co-founders is a longtime member Sabba. He's also a friend of the community and yeah, I'll be talking about payments generally with hum and then with Michael as well. He works at GoCardless, who's in Ramen Club. It just sounds like such a fascinating space. I don't think a lot of people are aware of the amount of complexity under the surface with payment systems.
For what I understand, if it's like credit card based like MasterCard or Visa is actually fairly standardized across the world and fairly simple, but when it's supposedly, when you're talking about like direct debits, for example, it's just different in every single country. To know what's like, would you say that's accurate? Like what's your sort of general take when explaining, the payment systems to a Layman?
Che Sampat: Wow, payments. Oh if you can avoid it, don't get into it. No, really like payments on its own is an insane world. And what Michael said, completely right. Card payments come with the benefit of sitting on a card network, like Visa and MasterCard.
They're pretty standardized. If you can accept a Mastercard in one part of the world, pretty easy to accept it in another part of the world. When it comes to direct debit, every country, every bank almost in that country may even have their own flavor of it. So yeah, it's a completely different ballpark. Most of, almost all of my experiences solely focused around card payments. So I can speak like a little bit about it, but it would mind boggle some people as to how complex it is to actually. So I put in your card onto a website and it actually be charged. And for that mercahnt to be paid, there is so many moving parts.
Like between every single, every time you like tap your card, there is at least four or 5, 6, 7, 8, like different companies and different pieces of platforms and softwares and tools that is in the middle of every single transaction. And I could talk for hours of like complexity of payments, but it's, it's amazing that it works.
Let's just put it that way. It is amazing that it works. And the only reason why it works is because we have no other option. We have to make it work because if we don't like people don't get paid and money doesn't move around everything kind of grinds to a halt. So we have no other option.
Charlie Ward: Yeah, you're doing God's work Che. We appreciate that. Yeah. And we've, you've got, you've got an important busy day job and fees. You've got multiple other projects going on. How do you balance all this stuff like you, because I know you also have a social life. It's not like you're a hermit. Like, how would you go about doing, getting all this stuff done?
Che Sampat: That is a good question. I'd like to be able to say that I have some insane methodology where I keep track of everything and I like everything always gets done on time and no, it's not. My methodology is pretty simple.
It's work on whatever is most important and would deliver the most value in the moment at any moment. That's it. That is that is actually, yeah, I tried the whole to-do lists and timeboxing, and the Pomodoro technique and I've lost count of how many different things that I've tried to increase my productivity, but it always comes back to the same principle of just work on whatever's most important at that time and just do it and just get it done.
I think one thing I'm pretty good at is if something's hard, that is not a reason for me that I put it off. I don't put off things because I think it's hard or it's boring, or it's going to take me six hours and I just have to sit there and do this really monotonous tasks. I don't really care about that because it's gotta get done.
But just for me, it's, whatever's most important and whatever can deliver the most value is what I work on.
Charlie Ward: Is that more of an instinctive thing at this point? Or have you ever used any sort of frameworks to help you with that? Or how do you think about.
Che Sampat: Yeah, I have tried like quite a few different like techniques, but I found that they always, I don't know, I was always left unsatisfied because I still knew in my head that like list of things that is most important that I actually need to get done. As supposed to try and listen to a planner that I said at the beginning of the day, or that I'm going to do this, and this. Because I've got so many like different things going on around me. I rarely am in control of what's most important. So when I'm not really in control of what's most important it's hard for me to say, oh, I'm going to this and this while also still doing what's most important. So I would happily change things up. If something else let's say I'm doing something for the Superpay and I'm like in the right. And I'm right in the middle of it. And then something happens at VEED that I was like, oh no, this thing's on fire. Or actually we really need to get this done this week. Fine. Drop this, work on that. And then I'll come back to this later. So yeah, that's very much how I approach things.
Charlie Ward: Yeah. One thing I like about VEED is they're accepting of people of hiring people who have side projects, which I actually think is an underrated advantage in the hiring markets. Some places are like, yeah, you can't do that, or if you do that, we'll have ownership of it. And I think some of them don't realize the amount of talent they're missing out on by doing this.
Che Sampat: Yeah. That was definitely like, that was like the first thing someone said to me when he called me and said, Che, please continue on working at Superpay whilst you're here. There is no conflict. It's all good. Whereas when I was at Fast, it was unfortunately we can't let, you can continue working on it because technically like their legal team classified it as like a competitor. I like to say that we outlasted a billion-dollar, like a hundred million dollar company, but the one still left standing.
Charlie Ward: I love it, love it. And so I would love to talk a bit about your latest idea, which is Supercharged. So you came up with it quite recently. Yeah. Why don't you tell everyone what that is and what stage you're at, what the future holds.
Che Sampat: Yeah, yeah. So just bear in mind, like not, everything's still fleshed out. Tomorrow I might completely change my mind on the, on the like overall direction of it. The underlying premise is something that I've noticed, like when I was at ihorizon, when I was at Fast, now I'm at VEED. A lot of us are still like reinventing, like a lot of the core organizational problems when it comes to engineering orgs and engineering efficiency and productivity, velocity. And then I think where it really sits is like, how can we make engineers as, as efficient as possible? Because for most companies, engineers are the biggest cost center. So most companies, it comes people. And then within that people group is engineers. So companies have a really incentive to make sure that their engineers are efficient and are not blocked and are not like wasting time on things that shouldn't be like, or it could be alternative for them. So like one of my core beliefs is like the code review process. So like when you submit a PR and for those who don't know, like a PR as a pool request, so it's when you like want to merge your version of the code into the code base. So you've made some changes, you'd be like editing new feature and then it's going to get merged in before it gets merged in. Most companies, basically every company has got a code review process. And it's someone else has to review this code and it's going to add some comments and you don't actually know those comments and then they get signed off. And I think the value of a code review have a really good code review process is heavily underrated in small to medium size engineering orgs. The big boys get like the Facebooks of the world, the Googles, the Amazons, the Apples, they really get this. They invest so much into building top-tier code review processes. I think Google is like, as far as like publicly documented processes go, Google is probably one of the most one-on-ones where they have an insane system when it comes to code review, like it's magical, like a code, like a engineer will just write their code.
Will press submit As I, as soon as I, as soon as it's ready for review, they just hit that button. And that is it. The system literally takes care of all of the rest in like selecting, okay who is the most appropriate review for this? They then have SLA so that you aren't waiting, when is this going to get reviewed? And it takes into account like holiday schedules and like capacity. Hey, like maybe this one person is really good at reviewing code and he is best suited for this, but he's got 12 PRS. The second guy that is just as good has got one, lets them give it to him. Let's like balance the load. So there are all these things that actually big tech companies have worked out that the code review process is so important for so many different reasons. Like it increases the quality, it coaches engineers. It gives real-time feedback to people as to how to develop their skills. Engineers are quite fortunate that we have this process that we can be contained every time we're adding new code to a system, we can be learning new stuff and we can be developing our skills and we can be raising the bar in the engineering world.
So what I'm now looking at now at VEED and what I eventually want to build is how can we productize class code review processes? Like how can we make every engineering org, how can we give the tools to every engineering world to have a world-class review process without having to build their own?
Cause let's face it Github's is pretty rubbish. Like when it comes to actually the code review process, the actual process of doing the code review, it's pretty good. But when it comes to actually selecting the reviewer or who is the right person, especially review this code or like how fast are we reviewing code?
Our PR is sitting there days on end and people are like, wondering, like, when is this gonna get reviewed? Like when is this going to get merged in? So it's about building the tooling for every edge engineering or have a world-class review process. That is the vision.
Charlie Ward: Yeah. That's a, the potential impacts of that is just like immeasurable and I find it fascinating. And where would the, would you see this as a tool that kind of, you'd sign up and then you would plug in your GitLab or Github data? Would it have to sit on top of a source like that? Or would there be other sources as well? How do you see it?
Che Sampat: Yeah, no, a hundred percent. It would sit on top of your existing infrastructure. There is no value in us rebuilding. There is no value in our sort of rebuilding Githubs, even code review system. Where I think the real like implementation lies is actually. Because the data is already there, like most Githubs are prettiest, especially if you've got 20, 30, 40 engineers, the data's likely already there, and it's already in your commit history.
We can pretty much already know who is the best reviewer, for this code, because it looks like John has been continuously working around this module for the last three months. Like John should likely take a look at this code so that the data's already there. It's just a case of ingesting it, understanding it, and then showing it in a way that is digestible.
Because if we give if we try to send oh, here is your daily email summary of code reviews. That is rubbish. So it's like the data's already there. We just have to ingest it, understand it, and then give it back in a way that it's somewhat useful. Yeah, I was just going to say that I'm like the reason why I think it's I'm actually quite excited about this is just like how you said actually the impact can be huge. Like we may be, have the potential here to like, if we can increase the velocity of every companies engineering, even by one, two or 5% that adds up every company, every single tech company has got an engineering, or most of them are using Github.This is not this is not a problem that is unique to any one industry. Yeah. In some ways every industry is the second industry now.
Charlie Ward: Yeah. Exactly. Every major industry now. Wow. So I'm sure the question everyone's thinking is when prototype?
Che Sampat: When prototype, so yeah, no, very good question. And that's actually something that I'm actually currently also working on at VEED is like our code review process isn't perfect either. It's actually something that I'm like working on now is like actually first of all. I think I need to understand what does a world-class, what does a world-class code review process actually look like in practice for a company of VEED's size? VEED is not too unique from an engineering org perspective or like a workflow development perspective. So if I can get something working through like VEED, just VEED then we'll take it from there. Hey, if it turns out that it's useless and it doesn't work. But I want to make it work for VEED first. Cause that was what I did with ihorizon, like I got the payments thing, what can just buy horizon first? And then when I realized it worked there, actually, you know what this might be useful somewhere else as well.
Charlie Ward: Yeah. That's a great way to test prototypes and, building in a real company where it's needed. That's awesome. A couple more questions or nothing we can open up for some more audience questions. So a bit of a higher level, but just as an Indie Hacker or Bootstrapper or however you describe yourself do you see people make what, the common mistakes people making that, you try to avoid yourself?
Che Sampat: Oh, thinking it's gotta be perfect. Or even like thinking it's going to be like 90% there. So like you to go to like launch I did this almost inadvertently with Superpay by accident. I'll give you an example. We have Suitpay, like the very first version. I didn't even know what Github was. I didn't even know what Git was.
So when it came time to launching my app it was just a case of dragging and dropping a folder into Python, anywhere.com, which is some online pipe and hosting service. And I initially just drag the photo and then boom, it's live, like the whole concept of like CIC D and testing and Git management and all this stuff that was completely foreign to me.
So I didn't do it. And I think that's one of the reasons like I launched Superpay in two weeks. And it was because like, it was nowhere near perfect. Like I didn't have a way to listen to that. Change their emails, change the names, change their password. None of that, like it was initially, I was just looking at one screen of what I built for ihorizon, which again was very janky. I built it in two days and I was, just copying it line for line into this new version that allowed from all, for like other users. And then it wasn't until a few months into Superpay when now actually I'm developing changes quicker. And my desktop, cause every time I'd did a new version, I just copy and paste the folder in my desktop and then I'd call it like Superpay old.
And then the next one would be Superold, and et cetera, et cetera. And then it goes to the point where I was like four or five verions in and I was like, okay, surely there is a better way than this. So then how do you deploy your code? Or it's not to be a, where do you host your code? And then I find Github.And then I learned how to use that. And then, but then when it came time to deployment, it was the same. I still would drag and drop. So it was to back to your question like a common mistake, that I see is oh, that it's got to be perfect from day one, or it's going to have even the basics, like whole thing about change your email chain, change your it's updating your name and then your profile picture.
Just ignore a little bit. Believe me, if someone wants to change their email, they'll just message you like no one is going to leave. No, it's not going to sign up to a product because they can change your email chains in their settings page.
**Charlie Ward:**Yeah. Gotcha. And is there anything you would've done differently in hindsight with Superpay?
Che Sampat: Yes. Yes. Something I did last year, last year we were approached by Square to build an integration with them. And they came to us and say, Hey, like we don't have a recurring payments product. We really liked what you're doing with Superpay. We are trying to launch our own like marketplace with a recurring payments partner. We would love to partner with you. And then at the time, it, that sounded really exciting Square has got, I don't know how many millions of merchants, but they're big and it was really exciting. And then I spent all this time, but in its integration and it was super hands-on like I was working directly with their subscriptions engineering team because they hadn't even built out the docs yet.
I was actually using the docs, from a PDF that some guy had wrote. And then I built it, but it deployed it fixed. And we then went live with it and it was just a complete failure. Like I completely misunderstood. The type of customers at Square customers. Fundamentally they are physical businesses.
Most of the customers use their point of sale, point of sale devices. So when they're asking for recurring payments and subscriptions, they aren't asking it for online. They're asking for it, in personand fundamentally that just, that's not how we operate. Like it's a different type of product, a different type of business model. And yet short story is this the whole Square integration failed. I've spent six months building it, grow and like planning, reviewing testing. Cause then they didn't have to do up a final QA. I spent all this time and effort. And then, so yeah, the lesson learned from there was like, when you're going to do something as big as build for another partner really understand their customers and make sure that cause that's not what I did. I just thought that Square is huge. We're going to extend your new customers is going to be beautiful, but I failed to understand type of customer Square are.
Charlie Ward: Yep. Totally feel you there. I think that's very applicable for all sorts of founders. And so yeah. Thank you, Che. I'm gonna pick a few questions out of the chat now. Even when it has questions, just feel free to get them in first.
One from William, so what are your main traction channels for the different products and what is your traction like now? I know you touched on that Stripe earlier as a marketplace pushes a lot of users towards you, but like what percentage of your traction comes from that and what are the other kind of sources?
Che Sampat: For Superpay, the vast majority comes from still the Square marketplace, but actually where we are finding more and more actually come from users that have checked out through Superpay before and then have then gone on to then sign up and then use it.
One, one really specific place where this happened was for some reason we seem to have a Monopoly on in this like north of Ireland. There's like a cluster of 8, 9, 10 rugby clubs and this like one city. And we seem to have a Monopoly on all of them. All of them used Superpay for their memberships.
So we process, like there were kind of payments for I think it's eight, 9,000 members. Every single week, like eight, 9,000 members in this, like one town in Ireland. And that actually will side just because one of them used us. And then the other one realized that, oh, that club is using that, that is really cool. And that's just been round and round and round. So word of mouth is another big one for us as well.
Charlie Ward: Awesome. So question from Matt. What are your thoughts on how much Crypto will disrupt traditional rail payments methods? Or do you think it's not a viable technology for payment?
Che Sampat: Yeah, I've thought about this one a lot. Coming straight from Fast. And so really there are like a few different types of when it comes to payments. You do have some big segments. I'll focus on e-commerce just cause that's the one that I'm most familiar with just coming from Fast. I don't think Crypto will rapidly derail or disrupts that e-commerce payments for one main reason, because right now centralization is at the core of e-commerce when it comes to payments, the only reason why e-commerce works and someone on one side of the world is willing to pay for something on the other side of the world and trusted that they're going to get it. It's because they are protected. Consumers know that if they buy something online and they don't get it, they can do a chargeback. They just go to their bank and they say, Hey, like I ordered green slippers and I got pink, fluffy slippers, and the bank will say, okay, show us some proof. And then we'll give you your money back. That doesn't happen with Crypto it's trustless by nature. And that doesn't really fundamentally that doesn't align with e-commerce and it's and it's like principles where trust is almost at the core of e-commerce. You have to trust this much and that if you give them your money, that they are going to give you what you asked in return.
And, but there's no guarantees when it comes to Crypto. So hey maybe someone will design the chargeback promotion for Crypto payments then maybe.
Charlie Ward: Yeah, it's fascinating, very relevant topic at the moment. Question from James. So for the low-tech customers, like the ones that only have a Facebook page who just wants something that works, how did you get them to talk to you and give feedback? So you knew how to iterate for them. And was this a challenge?
Che Sampat: Yeah, so something we did from the, I'd say three months to three months until I like launching something I did straight away was I put up a banner on the dashboard. So as part of the onboarding flow it was pop up and say, Hey, do you want to book in three 30 minute concierge onboarding call?
I made, it sounded really fancy. And then I said, Hey you'll get to speak to someone from our like customer success team and they're going to help sell. So you've paid just right for you. A lot of customers chose this just because of how non-technical they were. And what I would do is I literally jumped on a half an hour call with them. I'd ask them about their business of what they want to do. And I would go into their dashboard and I would set up what they needed for it. And I teach them how to use it to now do what they want it to do. And then in return, I got to ask some questions along the way. I never made it like, oh, thank you for now, completing the onboarding.
Here are five questions that I want to ask you. It was like, I had five, six questions that I knew I wanted to ask. And I would weave them in through the conversation to make it seem like a lot more natural. And again, they always left really happy. And actually we found that those users were always are like highest retention users by we set up users from years and two years ago as to actively use us day to day today.
And they were the ones that if you look back there, those were the ones that I like personally onboarded. So no, yeah. Personally onboarding customers.
Charlie Ward: Love it. Any other questions just before we wrap up? Going once, going twice. From William, So how many hours do you work a week and do you have a team?
Che Sampat: Just on Superpay or across everything? Oh, across everything. Oh actually now I don't even know. It feels pretty constant. Basically almost 24/7. I get up at nine and I'll work until six/seven. If I've got something in the evening, I'll go. And then if I'm not doing anything and evening I'll continue working, then I pretty much do that all day, every day. Do I have a team? No. It's just actually I've got my sister who does customer support for Superpay. She is legendary. If you're looking for another customer support agent, I can give you a contact details, but she, she does like a few hours a day for us and helps me stay accountable to answering customers for questions.
Charlie Ward: What about, are you ever afraid of burnout? It's crossed my mind a few times, but I've been doing this for this sort of same pace for three, four years now. And I don't know, I'm not afraid of it because I don't know what it feels like. I've heard of it. Like I've heard of people, like really burning out and it's on catastrophic and they need to move jobs or they need to take a six weeks of medical just to recharge.
Che Sampat: I think for me, so that I do outside of work, because I think having something else that they work is super, super important. I said completely different from what you do day-to-day today. I go martial arts twice a week, and it's an hour and a half on a Tuesday on a Wednesday evening. And those three for some, sometimes four hours a week for me, super duper important helps set everything else into.
It can sometimes be quite easy to like, get lost in work and think, oh no, I want to do it. It's really stressful or deadlines. Or I've got four different people asking for what are four different things that they all wanted like yesterday that can sometimes seem quite stressful, but then when never gets those pauses.
And I dunno someone like sitting on my head and like twisting my arm and digging out, like thumb into the side of my head that is stressful that hurts. This isn't. So for me, what, the way I'm working now is I'm quite happy. So yeah, I think a lot of that is just down to cause I have quite a few things that I do outside.
Like trying to sound pretty sociable. If you tell me, Hey do you want to go grab a drink? Say I'd probably say I'd probably say yes.
Charlie Ward: Lovely man. And I think final question, so from Ostap was it hard to become a Stripe partner?
Che Sampat: Surprisingly. No, it wasn't too hard no. It was hard actually, I'll get to say it was hard to build it, but even then there that, that wasn't the hardest. No, it wasn't too hard to become a Stripe on it. It cost you paid like a $250 fee, one time fee. They would review our application and then you would be approved or denied. We actually got denied first time.
It might be a story for another day, but once Superpay was getting stared, they actually banned our account. Like two weeks in because they thought that we were some, we thought we were trying to build like a Stripe wall on top of Stripe and they didn't like that. And even though we tried to tell them all actually, no, we're building it through Stripe connect, but then they chilled out.
But yeah, like this is like into two weeks since launching, we had a few customers we're doing like a few hundred dollars a day in and then we'd get kicked off and then everything ground to a halt and I'm freaking out like, oh no, my business has died. But then we like, luckily got to reach out Stripe and they're really apologetic about it.
And actually that was probably the start, actually quite a strong relationship with like me and Stripe.
Charlie Ward: Yep. Awesome. And so final question from William. What do you think is the future of payments? So many global markets, not credit card friendly and have alternate payment methods like UPI in India, Alipay in China, but less so in Brazil. Just wondering how you think it will evolve in future.
Che Sampat: Yeah, no APMs or like a whole different ballpark payment methods. This is actually a something that we're now starting to explore at VEED. It's a completely different ballpark. I don't think we'll see any kind of consolidation anytime soon. Like each market is completely different. And by, for example, in Indonesia, they have 12 different APMs, but everyone's got like tiny market share. Like they have no, they have no market. Don't dominate it. They're like all those 12 companies all at 15, 20, they've all like a sliver of the market share.
So just in Indonesia alone, you've got like 15 companies all competing and they've all got a tiny share. So there's no consolidation there. You just got to accept them or accepting them or choose to accept one or two. But yeah, I think Stripe will play a huge role in becoming the middleware on top of all of this complexity as what they've been doing from day one and what they're still chipping away at.
So there is no value in VEED building integrations, direct integrations into it's about 12 different APMs in different markets. There's very low value for us, but for Stripe huge value for them. And if they can make it as easy for us to just to click a toggle, like dash and I'll start checkouts and suddenly accepts a whole new market of eight APMs then all of a sudden we are going to do that if they've made it so easy. Why not take advantage of that? So yeah, it's gonna be hard to say the finest spot is always been super fragmented. There's never been one clear market leader, like even Visa and Mastercard, they are duopolies. And they are like one in like a chain of seven different companies that happen every single time you press pay.
Nothing's going to change that for a very long time. It was extremely very slow moving and different parts of the chain move at different speeds. Like how you just said, like in India they invented a brand new piece of regulation that all the banks have to follow, that you have to authenticate every single recurring payment.
So recurring payments in Stripe, which is just plummeted just as you have to request an authorization every single time. And it's bonkers. No. Yeah. We're going to continue to see fragmentation and it will be up to central middleware, like Stripe to put the glue and glue it all together.
Charlie Ward: I think that's a great question and answer to finish on. So I just want to say thank you very much Che for joining us really good time talking to you today as always.
Thank you everyone for listening, and we'll be back for more interviews like this with Ramen Club podcast very seen. So thank you very much.