Co-founders Mattias Eld (CEO) and Miguel Cardo (CTO) tell the story of how Fidesmo began by seeing a larger opportunity and building a platform that nobody really wanted.
Today, global phone manufacturers, international payment providers, full-service and niche banks, service providers and leading chip manufacturers have joined the Fidesmo platform, and many more are queued up. Fidesmo is poised to revolutionize the world of contactless transactions. Founders Mattias Eld and Miguel Cardo tell us more about how Fidesmo came to be.
Beyond the SIM
We both come from a background at Ericsson. As an equipment and former phone manufacturer, the SIM card was seen as the key to monetizing their carrier business. In fact, most phone manufacturers at the time looked to the Mobile Network Operators for growth. We wanted to take another path where we saw more opportunity for growth, but the option wasn’t open to us in our roles in the company. Eventually, we decided to go it alone. And, after a few false starts, Fidesmo was born in 2013.
We wanted to build an independent platform for contactless transactions that would utilize the NFC chip, or secure element as it’s referred to. Since it’s passive, i.e., it doesn’t require a battery, it’s not restricted to use with a mobile. It can be integrated into so many more things, clothes, watch straps, payment cards, key rings, and mobiles themselves.
We wanted to break down the silos. For payment, public transport any service requiring a secure element. Don’t just choose Garmin Pay, Apple Pay or Samsung Pay – choose all-pay by going with Fidesmo as well. It may sound like a difficult idea to wrap your head around, but it’s really no different to what happened to the music industry with Spotify. Why limit yourself to music just available on one device? As a consumer I want to have my music irrespective of what device I use. The same applies to contactless services.
Phone manufacturers use secure elements today for their payment services, i.e., Apple and Samsung Pay, but users must have a phone that supports the service. Our solution is independent of this. If you have a Mastercard or Visa card and a product with an NFC chip connected to a bank on our platform, you’re good to go.
A platform for all contactless transactions – not just payments
However, our platform isn’t purely a payments platform. It supports many types of contactless transactions. Be that eID, access controls or public transport ticketing.
Ticketing has traditionally been somewhat of a closed shop with transport companies using the ticketing systems provided by their chip/travel card providers, even though the systems have standards-based protocols. Our platform is opening up this market as it’s compatible with these protocols and multiple types of chips.
What does this mean? For cities, it means a more competitive market and lower prices. Chips and systems can be purchased separately rather than bundled. And for end-users they no longer need specific cards – but could potentially use anyone they already have in their wallet or any device with a secure element.
Critical mass brings value to all
We want to prioritize security in everything we do but in addition to this – scale is our key driver. The entire platform, regardless of service, is based on scalability and cost efficiency for our partners.
With our recent achievements we have reached a tipping point with the number of services connected to the platform. We have the world’s largest payment providers in Visa and Mastercard, we have major and niche banks throughout Europe, we have collaborations with many device manufacturers and we have the ever-growing collaboration with public transport companies.
There are very exciting shifts happening in our industry currently. From a technology and platform perspective with tokenization of cards, the growth of biometrics, new services and ultra wide band – there are a lot of exciting things happening – but maybe the most exciting is the change in mindset we are seeing. We’re an agile and savvy jetski buzzing around this super-tanker that is the contactless industry. We may be small but we are really beginning to make waves that the tanker can’t ignore anymore.
About Mattias Eld – Fidesmo Founder and CEO
Mattias has over 20 years of experience in developing business and technology. He is driven by the goal of bringing contactless to the masses through secure, user-centric solutions that bring value to all stakeholders.
About Miguel Cardo – Fidesmo Founder and CTO
Miguel has a background in technology and is an authentication specialist. He has spent 20 years developing architecture and tech solutions that meet the needs of clients, customers and society.