Stop Mendokusai in Finance: Interview with Masaki Teranishi of Paidy

Mieke Aarsman 03 Jun 2019

While we at Morgan McKinley are trying to improve people’s careers in IT, Paidy is trying to improve cashless payments for consumers. Through the analysis of big amounts of anonymous consumer data, they are able to build a new solution for consumers’ payments.

Masaki Teranishi is the manager of the Product team at Paidy, and was able to give us some more insight into the business, and the work environment at Paidy. This is the interview I had with him.
Teranishi_Paidy photo 2 - Naomi Tazawa

How is Paidy going to revolutionize the cashless payments world in the next few years?

“Within Japan we are well underway. Historically, credit card companies have awarded credit to consumers. This is heavily regulated by the CIC (Credit Bureau, red), which has one downside: for some demographics it is very hard to get a credit card in Japan, such as foreigners, or very young or old people with no income. Paidy extends their service to these groups as well because we can analyze the consumer behavior through data.
Our core value is ‘stop mendokusai in the financial world’. We want to be friendly, instant, and easy to use. Contrary to regular financial services, we trust consumers first.”

Isn’t this a risky business model for Paidy?

“In the beginning it was pretty tough, haha! But now we’ve been running for 4 years, the default rate is low and the business is running well. We are developing a lot of new products at the moment. We can do this because we have a loyal customer base with the main Paidy service already, which allows us to develop new functionalities and launch them in the market. We are planning to launch some of them within this year, so keep an eye out for them!”

Would this work outside of Japan?

“We are looking at options to expand the service to another country but haven’t decided on which country yet. We opened an office in Singapore and Hong Kong, and we are looking at a few different options. Customer’s nationality does seem to play an important role in the way our business works, so we are definitely keeping it in mind.”

Where do you see the biggest competition in Japan?

“Actually, there is not a lot of competition in the local market because our product is so unique. There are a lot of payments apps and the like, but they are not our competition, rather they can be our partners. For post-purchase payment options, we are the main company. Merpay is trying to launch something similar. However, I see this as a combined endeavour to expand our market here. There are initiatives abroad such as Klarna (Sweden) and Afterpay (Australia), it’s interesting to see their business as well.”

What is it like to work at Paidy?

“I used to work for a very big, traditional Japanese company (7000+ employees). Paidy is totally different than these type of companies; it’s smaller, more diverse, and flexible. For instance, we have colleagues from over 25 countries, so there’s lots of diversity in backgrounds and opinions, which makes for interesting and open discussions.  
I was surprised when I joined, because everyone was so kind. I think this is because of the hiring process. We emphasize culture fit in the different teams when we hire. One more thing that surprised me is the flexible work style, including work from home etc. I will have a baby soon, and most people in my team have kids so sometimes there are emergencies. In those cases, the team member can easily work from home. We also have various team building activities, both with my own team and with the entire company, such as lunches, hanami parties etc.”

How does Paidy enable people to be successful?

“When you work at Paidy you can contribute to an interesting, new product. We are expanding the business and the market at the same time. The atmosphere is dynamic and exciting, and the motivation is high throughout the business. As we are expanding both vertically (adding more users, red) and horizontally (adding more features and products, red), there are a lot of opportunities for employees.
We also provide training for our employees. A few times a year, I will go to Singapore for training about products, or for a Sprint work session with external stakeholders to think about new products. Sometimes we invite trainers from abroad to come in and give workshops (product optimization for instance). In my team as well, people are travelling to New York or Seattle for trainings from time to time.”

What have been your biggest challenges after joining the company?

“Hiring good product managers! Haha!
Personally, I’m trying to become more innovative and be a proper manager and elevate my team members’ possibilities. I do this by sharing visions with each other and periodical meeting with each team member to share issues, challenges, short term goals and the like. I managed people before, but in a Japanese company it is quite different. At Paidy I am serving the subordinates in my team, rather than the other way around.”

What 3 things make a successful Product Manager in your team?

“I think in general, not just for Paidy, the three most important qualities will be:

  1. Listen first – listen to your colleagues, clients, and user panels before you speak, to make well-informed decisions
  2. Doubt assumptions – many businesses start with assumptions. It’s good to think critically about each of them
  3. Being smart (haha!)  – concretely this means to think logically, being accountable and being transparent with internal and external stakeholders”

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Mieke Aarsman's picture
Senior Consultant | IT Recruitment