In the fast-paced world of fintech, there are leaders who not only make a positive impact but also leave an indelible mark in truly disrupting the space. Marilyn Schaffer, the CEO of XTM Inc., is undeniably one of these remarkable leaders. Her journey from the world of public relations to digital advertising and fintech has made her a standout CEO across multiple brands, including Today Payments (www.paidtoday.io), XTM (www.xtminc.com) , and the acquired QRails Inc. (https://qrails.com/). Let’s dive into Marilyn's career path and look at the latest innovations that CEO Marilyn Schaffer has been able to bring to market.
Journey of A Visionary Entrepreneur
Marilyn Schaffer's entrepreneurial journey began in the late 1990s, marked by her founding of NEO Communications. Her brilliance in the realm of public relations quickly garnered recognition, and NEO Communications was eventually acquired by the industry giant Omnicom (NYSE: OMC). This pivotal acquisition paved the way for Marilyn to assume the role of Vice President of the Global Technology Practice. In this capacity, she and her team achieved remarkable milestones, securing business with notable brands such as Bell Canada, Bell Mobility, Rogers, Tangerine, Canada Post, and AT&T.
Marilyn's relentless pursuit of innovation and entrepreneurial spirit led her to launch XTM Inc. in 2006. XTM initially began as a full-service digital advertising and marketing agency, rapidly gaining recognition and awards for its outstanding work. One standout project involved representing the First Nations and Mississaugas of the New Credit at the PanAm Games in 2015. Notably, this multi-million-dollar account was completed within an astonishing four-month timeframe, showcasing Marilyn's visionary leadership.
In March 2018, XTM Inc. made a strategic move by acquiring the assets of Zoompass, a significant step that positioned the company squarely within the fintech payment space. Following this acquisition, XTM went public, trading on the Canadian Securities Exchange (CSE: PAID), and embarked on a journey to become a fintech innovator, particularly in the neo-banking sector. XTM's core mission revolves around providing technology solutions to businesses, automating worker payouts, eliminating cash transactions, and creating an integrated payment ecosystem. This ecosystem includes a free mobile app and Visa or Mastercard debit cards, complete with free banking features. Marilyn proudly states, "XTM became public (CSE: PAID) and has evolved as a Miami and Toronto-based fintech innovator in the cloud-banking space, further helping businesses inspire their workforce in the hospitality, personal care, and services staffing industries." (Learn more here & watch the interview)
Building a World-Class Team
Marilyn Schaffer considers one of her greatest accomplishments as a business owner to be the creation of a world-class team of fearless innovators. Over the past two years, this team has been instrumental in helping the hospitality industry bounce back from pandemic shutdowns by embracing digital transformation through on-demand payment efficiencies.
"Our success is driven by our collaborative team," Marilyn affirms. The start-up mentality of the team at XTM allows for rapid innovation and the ability to pivot proactively to overcome market challenges. With a dynamic team of engineers, marketing and sales thought leaders, and technology product experts, Marilyn and her team are passionate about helping businesses inspire their workers and develop strategies to foster motivation.
Challenges on the Road to Success
Undoubtedly, the path to success is often accompanied by challenges. Marilyn Schaffer discusses one significant challenge faced by XTM Inc. as a publicly traded micro-cap company. She compares it to a teenager being critiqued at every step. The decision to go public early in XTM's journey was driven by a group of interested investors who wanted liquidity options. Marilyn elaborates, "We acquiesced and were able to quickly go to a market with a solution we thought the industry needed fast. We were right." (Read more here.)
In just a year, XTM signed foundational clients that allowed the company to dominate the market within about 18 months. This rapid growth and transition to a publicly traded company came with heightened scrutiny from shareholders, regulators, and institutional investors. Yet, XTM's ability to adapt and innovate has been pivotal in overcoming these challenges.
QRails & XTM's Vision for the Future
With the recent closing of the QRails acquisition and several Fortune 100 clients nearing implementation, XTM faced the need for substantial financial support. To fund the growth of earned wage access, XTM secured a remarkable USD $90 million debt facility. This facility underscores XTM's commitment to revolutionizing how employees access their earnings.
Marilyn Schaffer is unequivocal in her optimism about the opportunity, stating, "We are bullish about our opportunity, with more than 200 million people in the US likely to access their earned wages mid-pay cycle due to personal financial shortfalls." Combined with their access to this market through signed contracts, XTM's fully SAP certified AnyDay™ solution is poised to scale and enable millions of workers to access their earnings in seconds.
XTM's AnyDay™ solution is already fully SAP certified and is poised to enable millions of workers to access their earnings in seconds. The days of payday loans as a go-to life-emergency option are evolving, thanks to XTM's innovative approach to financial solutions. (Learn more about the news here)
About XTM, QRails, and Today
XTM Inc. is a fintech innovator with operations in Miami and Toronto. The company specializes in cloud-banking and is dedicated to inspiring the workforce in the hospitality, personal care, and services staffing industries. (Learn more at www.xtminc.com)
QRails, a fully owned subsidiary of XTM, operates as a cloud-based issuer-processor. QRails empowers payroll providers, financial institutions, and global fintech companies to modernize their operations and offer innovative digital payment solutions to employees. The flagship solution, AnyDay™, is the first to own a full tech stack that powers earned wage access. (Learn more at www.qrails.com )
In an exciting development, XTM Inc. successfully completed its acquisition of QRails, Inc. This strategic move positions XTM as the first vertically integrated provider of fully certified Earned Wage Access (EWA) solutions, white-labeled by leading Human Capital Management and Payroll organizations. QRails' expertise in EWA empowers Fortune 100 companies and their employees with innovative payment solutions.
Today, (www.paidtoday.io) another member of the XTM family, was initially designed to provide instant access to staff's gratuities. Over time, it expanded its scope to offer instant access to various earnings and wages, including incentives, mileage, expenses, and more. Money is directly deposited into users' mobile wallets, and they can spend their funds immediately using the provided card. Today has been instrumental in the hospitality industry's recovery, offering its platform for free to support restaurants and operators during the pandemic. As the industry rebounds, Today is transitioning to a subscription-based model to further support service businesses facing unique challenges in 2023. Today is recognized as a leader in on-demand pay and continually innovates to support businesses in motivating their workers. Some of its prominent clients include Earls, Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, Cactus Club, Marriott Hotels, and Live Nation.
Top Tips for Aspiring Entrepreneurs
Marilyn Schaffer shares her top tips for anyone looking to start, run, and grow a business today:
Embrace Agility: Be prepared both mentally and fiscally for agility and the ability to pivot. When you launch a product or service, seek feedback from the market and be willing to adjust accordingly.
Build a Strong Team: Your team is your greatest asset. In the start-up world, it's essential to build a team that shares your vision and is passionate about achieving long-term growth. As the owner, your role includes cheerleading for your team and providing clear direction.
Listen to Your Customers: Constantly engage with your customers. Some of the most vocal customers can become your biggest advocates, helping to elevate your start-up to the next level. Access to continuous feedback ensures that you consistently improve your value proposition. (Learn more here)
Marilyn Schaffer's journey from NEO Communications to XTM Inc. is a testament to her visionary leadership and unwavering commitment to innovation. Her dedication to building world-class teams and her ability to overcome challenges have positioned her as a CEO of influence across multiple brands. Marilyn Schaffer, along with her companies XTM, QRails, and Today, is shaping the future of fintech and inspiring industries to adapt to the changing landscape of payment solutions. The days of payday loans as a life-emergency option are fading, and a future where millions can access their earnings instantly is on the horizon, thanks to the visionary leadership of Marilyn Schaffer.