Braintree caters to developers

Many start-ups in the mobile commerce and social media space are using Braintree as their payment provider, which is no coincidence, said Braintree’s CEO Bill Ready.

His company is pushing hard to drive innovation and be the go-to payment provider for up-and-coming e-commerce companies. Braintree’s strategy is simple: Go after the developers at those companies and be the payment platform they prefer.

“We’re very focused at developers at e-companies – anything they need to do,” Ready said.

Braintree’s strategy seems to be working. Founded in 2007, Braintree already has more than 2,000 companies in its portfolio of clients including some of the hottest start-ups, companies like daily deal site Living Social, travel booking site Airbnb, and online storefront Shopify. According to Ready, Braintree is processing more than $4 billion in credit card volume annually with nearly $1 billion coming from mobile devices.

Ready, who has been CEO of Chicago-based Braintree since September, was originally a software developer. The Harvard MBA came to the company from Accel Partners, the investment firm that gave Braintree $34 million in Series A funding last June.

Developers first

What sets Braintree’s strategy apart from competitors is their focus on making payments easy for developers who are not usually a company’s decision maker when it comes to payments. Those decisions are often made by finance and accounting departments. But according to Ready, that’s changing as developers are tasked with getting solid products up and running more quickly.

“Developers are driving more decisions,” Ready said.

He explained that competition has forced developers to speed up their time to market, and finding payment gateways that are simple and easy for customers to use, and developers to integrate, is becoming an important consideration. It’s a consideration best left to those who are building the software.

“Ease of integration justifies developers’ time,” Ready said. “Even CFOs notice that.”

Providing the right tools

That doesn’t mean that gaining the trust of developers is easy. Ready said it helps that very few other players are focusing on developers as much as Braintree, but he admitted that developers are a very difficult crowd to access through traditional marketing channels.

One of Braintree’s tactics for attracting developers is simply to provide them with good tools, the kind of tools they need to get payments set up quickly and easily. To that end, Braintree recently released libraries for iOS, Android and Windows Phone devices. The libraries enable credit card payments through apps instead of through mobile browsers, giving them all the benefits of the native apps while avoiding some PCI and performance issues.

The benefits aren’t just for developers either. Since most payment methods either open a web browser to make payments happen, Braintree’s libraries mean payments happen within the native app, making the payment experience seamless for customers and even reducing network activity so the device works better.

According to Ready, that’s good for both Braintree and its merchants facing stiff competition.

“Whoever wins is likely going to be driven by developers, who are thinking about what’s good for consumers,” he said.

Focus on e-commerce, international

Ready said the future for Braintree will continue to be guided by the company’s vision in serving ecommerce customers first well as providing for specific developer needs in the mobile payment arena. Ready said he also sees more convergence between mobile products and social media.

Braintree will also place more emphasis on international payments, Ready said. Currently, 15 percent of the company’s revenue comes from international payments, he said.

“In the same way we’ve made payments easy for developers in the U.S.,” Ready said, “we want to do the same for international where a simple, easy to integrate solution for online and mobile payments does not exist.”

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