Driving the Transformation of the Global Payments Landscape

Mike Laven, Chief Executive Officer of Currencycloud, and an avid piano player in his quality time, shared with us the mission of Currencycloud's Payment Engine and the changes brought by it. He shed the light on how customers of today are different from the time Currencycloud was launched. Mike also spoke about challenges of the industry and told what every company should have in their DNA to avoid problems.

Financial IT: Can you tell us briefly about Currencycloud and your background?

Mike Laven: Currencycloud‘s Payment Engine is the power inside countless businesses, driving the transformation of the global payments landscape. We’re focused on developing the smartest most flexible APIs to re-imagine the way money flows through the global digital economy. This allows payment firms to remove the friction and inefficiencies of traditional cross-border payments. Launched in 2012 Currencycloud is based in London and is regulated in Europe, the USA and Canada.

I’m passionate about pushing technology to its limits to drive maximum benefit to users. Over the past 20 years, my role has spanned a number of finance and technology enterprises from London to Silicon Valley.

Financial IT: What were the main motivating factors for you to set up Currencycloud?

Mike: Our goal is to provide the necessary expertise, tools and support on which digital banks and retail payments companies can build and scale their own businesses globally. What fires us up is being the building block in business and entrepreneurial success. Through empowering clients to serve their customers, we are able to positively impact the lives of millions and millions of people.

Financial IT: How much have the payment and financial services industry changed since Currencycloud started off in 2012?

Mike: Strangely enough, the actual payment function has become less and less significant to the end user since 2012 – but with that our role has become increasingly important. With the growth of the digital economy and the rise of services such as the internet of things and on-demand solutions, customers want access to services instantly – which means transactions need to process seamlessly in the background, preferably without the end user even noticing. Our engine needs to be working harder and smarter on the other end to provide this seamless, instant, smooth consumer journey.

Financial IT: Could you please tell us a bit more about your clientele? And what value does Currencycloud bring to customers?

Mike: We work with 200+ global digital businesses and although the type of business work flow varies, their need for API-led technology that brings transparency and speed of moving money around the globe does not.  That’s what we are bringing them. Currencycloud is proud to be working with some of the smartest digital businesses around the globe to help them build on their existing infrastructure and provide their customers with a seamless payments flow.  

Financial IT: How do you see the future trends and challenges of the industry? In which direction is Currencycloud reacting to the industry changes?

Mike: The challenge that everyone is talking about falls around how you create a compliance culture that is still agile enough to respond to change? The culture associated with driving agility and creativity seems to be at odds with the culture of driving compliance and regulation. One of the major challenges that FinTech businesses face is how to bridge that gap. The reality is that compliance isn’t an add-on, it should be a fundamental part of the company and for that reason, it needs to be built into every stage of the business – extending beyond the compliance team to the wider company. If compliance isn’t built into the DNA of the company you have a problem.

Financial IT: What are the major future plans you have for Currencycloud?

Mike: We’re growing fast, while continuing to improve on our next generation APIs – so 2017 will be focused on smart investment, international expansion and continued tech development.


Behind Mike’s friendly exterior lies one of the sharpest minds in the financial technology industry. Over the last 18 years, Mike has held leadership roles at a number of a FinTech firms.

He joined Currencycloud in 2011, growing the firm to the point where it has now processed over $205bn of international payments and more than 2m transactions since 2012.

You may be surprised to learn that Mike once spent six years working for the United Nations. In his spare time, Mike plays classical and jazz piano – a topic on which he can bore even the most ardent music aficionado rigid.

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