Peloton Technologies is a Victoria-based organization that provides payment solutions to streamline a business’s financial operations. With their payment platform, Peloton Technologies strives to make managing money easier for organizations big and small, all the way from a government level to local Victoria small businesses. We sat down with Founder and CEO Craig Attiwill to learn more about the passion behind Peloton Technologies.
What does Peloton Technologies provide and what is the mission behind it?
“Peloton Technologies is a financial technology company and we provide services in the banking area to streamline and make payments more efficient.”
Can you tell me about the history behind Peloton Technologies? How did it start?
“Peloton Technologies started off the side of my desk.”
Craig explains that at that point, they had a unique case in the sporting world where they needed to provide a platform for credit card payments between organizations run by volunteers.
“There was no real solution that they had to bring everyone together and make it fair and equitable for all of the organizations and do that on a credit card basis, which is what their members wanted. So, we created that solution for them and that’s how Peloton was born.”
Why did you start Peloton Technologies?
Starting the business, it wasn’t just one thing, it was multiple problems. It was realizing there was a problem, and this problem is really something that needs to be solved within the industry. I knew that from owning a small retail business, and at the same point, consulting and having worked with larger organizations and governments, seeing the government bureaucracy and thinking there’s a better way to do it that’s far more efficient.”
Craig says that Peloton’s solutions will be able to support municipalities and all the way to the federal government and the organizations within it, as well as work for financial institutions to streamline their processes.
“So it wasn’t just the fact that I wanted to solve my small business problem, I saw all these problems as a consultant in government and looked at all the waste of time and taxpayer dollars thinking that we could do this much more efficiently. Plus people told me it was impossible to solve, and that just sounded like a challenge!”
What was the moment that made Peloton real?
“The moment that made Peloton a real business was when I realized that this was going to be a full time job. We had our first strategic investor and financial investor come on and that meant, okay, now I’ve got a responsibility, not to just other people invested into the company but to a non-executive director, someone who’s put funds in to see investment grow.
At this point, Craig was working as a consultant but it became clear that he was able to stop consulting and working for Peloton at the end of his work day and instead make Peloton his full-time role.
“That was the day I was pretty proud of something that I started, and as an entrepreneur you only kind of get that feeling if you open a small business–which I’ve done before in the retail business–and you get that feeling on opening day. That first customer walks in and makes a sale, and that’s what it felt like, so it was great.”
What is your community of customers like?
“We have plenty of favourite and unique customers. Being in the payment industry, our customers come from just about every industry there is because there isn’t a business without payments. We have characters, you could say, from different industries–everyone from the construction field all the way up to professional accounting. There are definitely a lot of different personalities and a lot of interesting levels in people’s understanding of banking and service. It makes it all fun, and the most enjoyment is out of helping people and recognizing that they have those ‘aha’ moments.”
Craig emphasizes that Peloton is not particular about which industry they service, so they have a wide range of clients.
“It doesn’t matter what size you are. We started off with a particular problem in the sporting domain, which was not a large organization, but had a lot of small organizations together. And then we started building on small to medium enterprises. So the great thing about our solution is we started as a small business, we use it ourselves, but at the same point our platform can be used for medium sized businesses all the way up to large enterprise businesses and government. So, it’s quite interesting to be able to provide a service that somebody can have when they’re a start-up, and keep that going right up until they become a very large organization.”
Do you have any best memories as a business owner for Peloton Technologies?
“I mean, we have a ton of stories. I work closely with our COO Darryl and we’ve built the business for the last five or six years together, and in that time there’ve been a lot of stories. We joke about writing the ‘memoirs’ one day with a lot of things in there to shed light on the fun journey we’ve had.”
“One of the things that was funny, is that when we started off ten years ago there wasn’t a company around with a similar name that sold bikes. As soon as they came about and started selling into Canada, we used to get a lot of calls asking about how to fix someone’s bike or letting us know there was something wrong with it. So we used to share those calls around our team and all have a good laugh about it. Of course, we’d get back to them and let them know they had the wrong number. But yeah, they were definitely fun to listen to.”
Does Peloton do any community initiatives or charity work?
“Our staff are always encouraged to participate in a bunch of different things, but as a company, we tie ourselves to the Festival of Trees here in Victoria which supports the BC Children’s Hospital. We have a lot of fun going and setting up the tree and thinking of the design. We put work in about a month in advance for that with the team, create a crew, and obviously do the organizing associated with that, and that’s a really worthwhile cause.”
How do you think Peloton positively impacts the community?
“It comes back to actually having owned and run a small business, and realizing how much time and effort it takes to reconcile and deal with payment acceptions. Typically, as an owner, you’re doing it yourself, and you’re doing it after hours, outside of the hours that you’re actually using to build value in your organization–it’s busy work. So the goals and the incentive really behind Peloton is to just make that busy work more streamlined, more automated, make it as easy as possible, and eliminate a lot of the underlying issues as to why it actually comes about.”
The solution, Craig says, is easy to identify: a unified payment solution. But as easy it is to recognize the solution, it’s extremely difficult to build, which is why Peloton has been working on the solution over the last ten years.
“Ultimately, it means that the owners of these businesses, or the people who are employing teams to do this, can employ less people or they get more time to themselves, which they can spend either building value in their business, or spending time with their family. So, I like to think that’s better for the community. But in the same regard, the more people who use the platform, the more people who are spending less time dealing with payments and transactions and banks and all of those things, the more streamlined it is, the better it is for Canada as a whole. If people are actually using their time to do more for their business, then that’s much better for every community, not just the local community, but also the whole country.”
What do you look for when hiring for Peloton?
First of all, we have the most fantastic chief human resources officer Allison. She looks at the culture that Darryl and I have created and the way we like to work that’s really made our core values. Two of those things are teamwork and respect. So employees have to be respectful, they have to be able to work as a team, and that’s at the core of our culture.
Craig tells us about their other three values they try to instill when someone comes to work for Peloton: passion, innovation, and trust.
“We’re a very tight cultural group in terms of, if you don’t fit because you’re not respectful for all the other people around you and respectful of their time, you’re not going to last long. And Allison is just so great at filtering people so that we only get wonderful people.”
Is there anything that’s most important in the workplace culture?
“It’s one of the hardest things to sit down and determine. We had our two core values for eight years or so before we added to them: teamwork and respect. They seem pretty obvious but I’ve worked in different environments and companies where they don’t exist. So we just want to make them front and center so that they are the core of our culture. You need to have respect for everyone you work with, respect for everyone’s time, what they’re going through in their personal lives, how to help them with work. And you have to be able to work as a team. There’s no siloed jobs here where people keep pieces of knowledge to themselves.”
“Adding on to that, we want our team to be innovative and having a passion for what you do always helps. And then you have trust, and it’s trust in your team, but also promoting trust in our organization as a whole so that because of our culture, people will trust us and want to do business with.”
What makes your business unique?
“I think the thing that makes us most unique is that the founders of the company are technology experts. We’re not coming in as entrepreneurs with a lot of cash trying to create a payment through a financial technology company. We actually know our stuff and we’ve been in the place of a small business owner. I’ve worked for large corporations as well so I understand the inner workings, and I’ve done consulting to solve some of those problems. So, it’s a very interesting position where our company is full of people who understand small problems to large problems and have solved them. We run our company like that. We’re a very tight unit and we’ve got a great culture that we suck people into. And we do work very differently from a typical payments company, and a lot of that is to do with the fact that we are very technologically savvy.”
What sets your business apart from the competition?
“Typically what businesses do is focus on one niche. They might solve a credit card problem, or they might solve a lending problem, but they don’t solve the entire problem for the business. So, from a payments perspective with all electronic financial transactions, we’ve tried to solve every single issue a business can run into, not just one little niche.”
Craig also says Peloton has recognized the value of independent sales organizations who already market to businesses in different niches, but these independent organizations can never solve the whole problem for a business. So, Peloton has been able to go to these organizations and offer for them to brand and sell the Peloton platform to their clients.
“We’ve recognized that that’s going to be our delivery mechanism. Peloton itself probably won’t be known, it’ll be all of the independent sales organizations that are already known out there and already have relationships with the businesses. They’ll be able to sell the solutions that we’re providing.”
Therefore, for Peloton Technologies, it’s not about the glory of a famous name but about truly helping people at businesses of all levels.
What is one thing you wish you could tell someone who has never heard of Peloton Technologies?
“We’re not the bike company! I’m just kidding. It really depends. I mean, if you’re a business owner I just like to tell them that there’s a better way. When we’re talking about payments, they know the pain, everybody you talk to understands the pain of having to deal with their financial institution and having to hire a bookkeeper, or an accountant, to bring all of these fractured data sources together so that you can see exactly how much money you’ve made this month. Or how much you didn’t make and what you need to do to change it. So, I just tell them, there is a better way, there is a better solution, it does exist. Don’t listen to the industry people out there who just aren’t aware that this problem has been solved.”