B2B Rocks Paris 2019: Guillaume Princen’s insights

B2B Rocks Paris 2019: Guillaume Princen’s insights

Guillaume Princen, Head of Continental Europe at Stripe, shares his insights on B2B Rocks and explains the consequences of the PSD2 regulation on online payments.

He will be speaking at the conference How to build the next generation of SaaS taking into account PSD2 regulation.

About Guillaume Princen

Guillaume Princen leads Stripe in Continental Europe and was the company's first employee outside the US. Before working with Stripe, Guillaume worked at McKinsey & Co. He has an MBA in Business Administration from Harvard Business School.

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Can you introduce yourself briefly? What is your role at Stripe?

Guillaume Princen: 
I lead Stripe’s effort in Continental Europe, which essentially means scaling the organisation and the teams to best support our customers in the region. I joined the company 5 years, as its first employee outside the US. Before Stripe I was working at McKinsey & Co. I also started a company a few years ago, which despite being an absolute failure, was an incredible experience.

What does this event mean for entrepreneurs in the B2B sector?

Guillaume Princen:

Just the fact that there are enough interesting B2B Saas companies in France to set up a paid event at Station F, with a pan-European remit is mind-blowing. A few years ago, there wasn’t enough interesting companies to fill a restaurant.

The reality is that French B2B startups are one of the best kept secrets of the French tech. Even when you look at some of the most promising B2C startups in France, you realise that what’s driving their growth often is their B2B product.

What are the striking tendencies in online payment solutions?

Guillaume Princen:
There’s been more innovation in payments in the past 3 years, than there has been in the last 30.

This is mainly driven by the shift to mobile commerce, which allows new types of experiences, and makes friction even more unbearable for consumers. At the same time, the payments landscape is growing more complex by the day, with more and more payment methods, new regulation, and an increasingly borderless world.

So for fast growing businesses, solving payments is never a finished case. And choosing the right partner to take on that complexity on their behalf is now one of the most strategic decisions they have to make. You simply cannot be slowed down by your payments partner.  

What do you think will be the impact of the PSD2 regulation on the SaaS industry?

Guillaume Princen:
On September 14th, 2019, Strong Customer Authentication (SCA) will be introduced across Europe. It is a new European regulatory requirement to reduce fraud and make online payments more secure.

This will change the way hundreds of millions of European shoppers buy online. Here are two examples of how Saas payments will be affected in the post SCA world: 

  • If your business offers a free trial, your customers will have to authenticate both at sign up and when they actually convert into paid customers. 
  • If your business offers metered services, customers will have to come back to the website or app to approve their bill every month. And if you’re on a fixed price, they will still have to authenticate regularly, based on the new reglementation. 

There are lots of other cases. While good for the consumer, SCA could have a massive impact on the Saas industry, if businesses fail to anticipate it. We’re talking billions of €. So if you aren’t SCA ready yet, or have no plans to be by September 14, I urge you to speak to your payments provider. SCA is the singlest most important change in the online payments world of the past 20 years.

What is Stripe’s highlight in 2019?

Guillaume Princen:
In June this year, we brought Stripe Billing, our subscription product, to Europe. It helps SaaS companies easily bill their customers over the world, track their right business metrics, and simply get paid faster.

Stripe also entirely rebuilt its product stack in 2019 to help its merchants become SCA-compliant by September 14. This was no small task, but we’re proud to be the only payments infrastructure to offer end to end SCA compliance and optimization for our merchants. For Stripe Billing, we will allow subscription businesses to seamlessly capture user authentication for recurring payments, only when required, and when most likely to succeed. If you want to know more, check out our new SCA web page or our SCA-ready payments flow designs.

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