The Golden Era for Open APIs is Upon Us
Thursday, March 24, 2016
We recently visited with Dave Matter, Chief Product Officer for Marqeta, to discuss how the company’s new payment platform leverages open APIs as well as to learn his thoughts on what’s driving the increased adoption of open APIs. Dave is a product and engineering professional whose specialty is designing, architecting and productizing large-scale financial technology platforms to create products operating at the intersection of business development, engineering and operations.
ADM: What is Marqeta? Tell us about the platform and what you do.
Matter: Marqeta is a fintech startup focused on an undisrupted segment of payments that issues payment cards and determines which payment transactions get authorized and which get declined. Marqeta’s platform exposes a series of REST APIs that allow companies to issue physical, virtual and tokenized cards.
I am the Chief Product Officer so I spend my days thinking about the future, building out a vision for the next coolest thing Marqeta is going to do, and figuring out how we stay three steps ahead of the competition.
ADM: There’s been a lot of news about open APIs lately – from Venmo to Visa. How did Marqeta get started in the open API world?
Matter: We realized at the beginning that people didn’t have enough access to features and functionality. We wanted to break down the “walled garden” that exists in this segment of payments. We API’d everything internally when we started building our platform from scratch.
ADM: What are some features for developers to discover on your API platform?
Matter: Just in Time (JIT) Funding is one of the coolest things right now. No one else is doing anything like it. For the first time, customers can apply their own business rules to a Visa, MasterCard or Discover Card transaction in real time. Developers can interact and test the API through the user interface or directly from curl or prototypes.
ADM: What are the benefits of open APIs – for developers and businesses?
Matter: Open APIs can really open the doors for developers and businesses alike. They provide immediate access to documentation and testing which facilitates rapid discovery and rapid prototyping. For businesses, this gives them the benefit of speed to market.
ADM: With a big player like Visa opening access to their API, what’s driving the increased adoption of open APIs?
Matter: Before there was fintech, there were financial services. And financial services companies in general were way behind the times. Financial services companies are finally committed to the rapid innovation you see in other SaaS domains.
ADM: What problem is Marqeta solving for the payments industry?
Matter: Marqeta’s open APIs allow our customers to focus on their core business and just plug in to payments solutions. Marqeta offers core solutions to meet the ever-evolving demands of the payments market: Delivery, Disburse, Expense and Lend. Each of these solutions includes a sophisticated set of controls and configurations that are designed to meet the needs of on-demand service companies, alternative lenders, as well as those looking for payouts for 1099 workers, flexible expense management, and scalable, secure virtual card transactions.
ADM: Who is using Marqeta’s platform? How?
Matter: DoorDash is a perfect example for Marqeta’s Delivery solution that allows on-demand services companies to scale their businesses with smooth operations and limited risk. DoorDash uses the Marqeta platform to grow and scale their on-demand delivery business. Affirm leverages the Marqeta platform to take a technology-driven approach to changing the way people make purchases and manage their finances. Kabbage leverages the API to increase and improve access to capital when business owners need it.
ADM: What is the top API trend developers should look for in the latter half of 2016?
Matter: APIs will further connect devices, hardware, and software in the Internet of Things (IoT). And there’s advancing investment in SDKs to allow for even easier integration to APIs.
ADM: What struggles do developers face without access to open source technology?
Matter: Without open source technology, developers are often forced to go beyond their area of expertise. Rather than plugging in to a payments solution, for example, they have to take the time and energy to try to build a half-decent version of a payment product. That’s time that could be spent focusing on - and continuing to innovate in - their core business.
ADM: What do you think the next big thing with be for developers in the future?
Matter: Technology and hardware will be embedded into every part of our lives, whether it’s the clothes we wear, the sports equipment we use, how we communicate with people, or how we buy or sell goods and services - everything will be more integrated. Hardware won’t be something we interact with, it will be interacting with us. We won’t even know it’s there. Developers will have an opportunity to build technology that impacts every minute and critical aspect of our daily lives.