Speaker at Money20/20 2016
Speaker at Money20/20 2016
Bill’s background is punctuated by a string of successful first-mover endeavors that he has spearheaded and which span several decades. His vision, expertise and understanding of market dynamics has enabled him to recognize key trends in advance of them unfolding. Over the course of his celebrated career, he has been a founding executive and/or early investor in many startups that went on to become successful, billion dollar companies.
Bill was one of the first technology executives to recognize that China would be a major player in the world scene as far back as the 1960s and intimately involved with the region well before it became integral to the growth of American business. In the 1970s, Bill delved into the software industry by founding Real-Share, a company that trail-blazed the use of computers, database and telecommunications systems for check authorization and guarantees. He later sold Real-Share to TeleCheck Services, which went on to become part of FirstData. By the 1980s, Bill envisioned that banking would be moving to the storefront checkout, which led to him to found VeriFone. He spearheaded the company and established it as the dominant global leader of retail electronic payment transaction solutions.
Bill’s next foray led him to the rapidly emerging area of online businesses, which he projected would change the world in the coming decades. This vision drove him to become an early investor in AOL, where he subsequently served on its board throughout the 1990s. As the online world moved into the 21st century, it became clear to Bill that much of what was happening at retail POS was moving online. This drove him to found CyberCash, a company that enabled online funds transfer. In parallel, he became an angel investor in PayPal, which sparked the multi-billion dollar, online commerce era.
Today, Bill believes that wallets have become passé. He predicts platform-based approaches will rule the future. With all of their rich functionality, mobile phones and high functionality retail apps will become the primary drivers of a customer’s engagement through their shopping journey. Rapidly evolving, cloud-based services with associated mobile front-ends will continue to evolve at a breakneck pace, ushering in new features for consumers that could not have even been dreamt of in retail previously. Bill also foresees the lines between online and offline behavior will blur and the experiences will converge. While payments is a key piece that ties this together, retailers must seize the new adaptability and flexibility that platform-based approaches will provide to help set one retailer apart from the other.