CEO Letter: Closing the door on 2023

Reflecting on what occurred in 2023, I believe we'll look back on it as a landmark year for payments. That's because it's the year the majority of merchants realized that optimizing payments is an untapped opportunity that can drive business growth.

It's a true turning point, especially for those of us in payments who've championed the idea that 'payments are a strategic asset and not just another step in the purchasing funnel' for the past decade.

I've felt this shift firsthand in my discussions with merchants around the world. The conversations I've had this year were some of the most energizing in my career as companies start to recognize the limitations of their legacy payment stack.

The merchants I've spoken with are also increasingly aware that the lack of interconnectedness between services leads to subpar payment performance, inflated processing costs, and an inability to swiftly adapt to evolving business priorities and customer expectations.

Consequently, these companies are adopting a more strategic approach to their payments. They're seeking an infrastructure tailored to their unique needs that's capable of sustainably scaling alongside their growth and meeting customer expectations.

Beyond this, many companies are also now considering the broader implications of payments beyond the transaction, exploring how payment can increase internal efficiencies and ignite innovation across the business. This will be an area that I suspect will see even more focus in 2024.

The evolution in how businesses view payments has meant that 2023 has been an incredibly exciting year for Primer. We’re working with a growing number of enterprise merchants across the globe, equipping them with the infrastructure, frameworks, and tools to unleash their payments and commerce potential.

Here’s a snapshot of the progress we’ve made this year.

Revenue growth and diversification 

2023 was a groundbreaking year for Primer. We’ve experienced exponential growth across all our key business performance metrics, with a considerable uptick in total payment volume (TPV), number of payments processed, and number of new merchants onboarded. 

This progress has translated into robust revenue growth. We’ve surpassed our 2022 figures by a substantial margin. At the same time, our revenue is becoming increasingly diversified across industries and geographies. We’ve recorded explosive growth in APAC and North America this year as more businesses from these markets look to avail the services of a unified payments infrastructure. 

Another key milestone is the investment we received from Tencent. It marks a new chapter for the business as we accelerate our global expansion efforts and continue innovating across our product portfolio.

Payment volume growth and performance improvements

We've seen our payment volume increase significantly in 2023 versus 2022. And that volume increase hasn't come at the expense of performance—quite the opposite. The cumulative average authorization rate for payments handled through Primer increased by 10% compared to 2022.

We’ve delivered this impressive performance by:

  • Empowering our merchants with enhanced insights and strategies to optimize their payment performance, as showcased in this blog.

  • Delivering advanced workflows that facilitate more intricate payment flows.

  • Driving the adoption of various Primer tools built to enhance payment performance. These include Observability Pro, UpliftAI, and Network Tokenization.

It’s also worth mentioning that Black Friday was our biggest day ever. We saw a massive spike in payment volume globally, and it came and went without a single merchant incident—a testament to the robustness of the platform our team has built.

Enterprise merchant validation

Primer offers the infrastructure, tools, and frameworks to tackle the most intricate and complex payment challenges. The growing interest and adoption by enterprise-level merchants, some of them publicly listed, is a testament to our capabilities.

Some noteworthy brands that have started to use our Unified Payments Infrastructure this year are:

  • Ocado Technology: The pioneering company offers a comprehensive platform that powers the ecommerce arms of several supermarkets globally. It uses Primer to allow its customers to access a broader range of payment services, streamline their payment processes and drive payment success.

  • Printify: The world’s leading print-on-demand marketplace uses Primer to provide seamless checkout experiences and sell high-quality merchandise online.

  • Zip: The leading Buy Now, Pay Later service uses Primer to accelerate its growth in the US and expand its market share.

  • Dabble: The innovative Australian social betting platform uses Primer to deepen its market presence in Australia and expand into North America. 

Take a look at our case studies to see how we’re empowering the world’s most ambitious companies to unlock their payment potential.

Innovating across our product suite

Innovation is at the core of our culture and ways of working, and our product and engineering teams constantly seek ways to deliver even more value to the merchants we serve. 

We successfully rolled out over 7000 code releases throughout the year to strengthen our existing product suite. In conjunction with these enhancements, we introduced various new products, features, and capabilities. Here are some highlights.

  • Connections: In 2023, we continued to expand the Primer ecosystem. We added new:

    • Popular payment methods in APAC, Europe, the Middle East, and the US, including Dubai’s nol Pay and Volt, with the latter allowing Primer merchants to offer Open Banking payments, Bank Transfers, and Pix. 

    • Fraud prevention providers, including Sift and Forter, allowing merchants to implement powerful fraud prevention capabilities directly into Primer workflows

    • Payment Service Providers, including FatZebra, EveryPay Greek, Paygent, and Merchant Warrior—as well as expanding and enhancing the integrations already in place with the major PSPs. 

    • We also launched an Advanced Metadata Mapper. The powerful tool allows merchants to dictate how transaction information is translated and sent to different payment providers. One use case is for fraud prevention, where merchants can include specific fields that activate fraud detection and prevention mechanisms in third-party payment systems.

  • Loyalty API: Our innovative loyalty API allows merchants to interact with 3rd party loyalty points and service providers, allowing for further consolidation of all payment methods into Primer’s infrastructure.

  • New workflows: Our new workflows deliver advanced automation capabilities, allowing merchants to build highly configurable, flexible, and sophisticated payment flows. This includes the ability to avail the services of third-party applications across the payment value chain, such as fraud prevention providers, KYC services, logistic applications, productivity platforms, and communication tools. 

  • Observability Pro: Our advanced analytics suite gives merchants unparalleled insights into their payment performance across all processors and payment methods, enabling them to identify areas for optimization. 

  • UpliftAI: Our AI-powered intelligent routing solution analyzes billions of data points in real-time to predict the most optimal payment route for each transaction across all payment processors.

Investing in our Primigos

We've invested in expanding our team and advancing our mission to establish Primer as a world-class organization. Here are some key initiatives we've undertaken:

Strengthening the team

Shane Mayes has joined us as our Head of People, while Jade Thomas has taken on the role of VP of Marketing. Additionally, we've celebrated the achievements of our existing team members with promotions. Notably, Theo Spyrides is now our Head of Payments, João Cachada has become our inaugural full-time Engineering Manager for our payments service group, and Kailash Madan has taken the lead in overseeing our global sales organization.

Elevating our values

Our values and culture are as vital to our success as our product and team. As Primer progresses, so do our values. That’s why, in October, we introduced our elevated values, guiding Primer's direction in the next growth phase.

Working, learning, and having fun together

Primer employs over 120 people across 35 countries, and in October, we all came together in France for a week at our annual retreat. It was a fantastic opportunity for all of us to spend time with each other and plan for the year ahead. We were also joined by some of our partners and merchants who shared unique insights into the evolving payments and commerce ecosystem. As a result of our time together during the retreat, I’m confident we’re more aligned as a business and living our value of being ‘distributed, yet unified’  as we head into 2024. 

Are you interested in joining Primer? Take a look at our open roles.

All eyes on 2024

Primer celebrated its 4th anniversary on 9th December. We’ve come a long way in a short span of time, but we’re only just getting started. 

I’m incredibly proud of what the team at Primer has achieved over the past 12 months. But equally, I’m incredibly excited and motivated by the road ahead. 

Payments remain one of the most significant untapped opportunities for nearly every business on the planet. Unlocking that opportunity isn’t easy; payments are complex. However, I’m confident in our ability to deliver the infrastructure, framework, and tooling to transform how businesses view payments, finally realizing their potential to become a catalyst for growth and innovation. 

See you in 2024!