Marwan Forzley Helps Small Businesses With Easier Online Payments

Tech beats legacy payment systems

Marwan Forzley has been working in the financial tech space for quite some time, but he's always had a soft spot for entrepreneurs and small business owners.

Forzley is the co-founder and CEO of Veem, a global payment provider that allows businesses to quickly and securely send and receive payments in local currency. 

A portrait of Marwan Forzley.

Marwan Forzley / Veem

Veem offers Veem Local, a way to send, receive and reconcile business payments within the United States and Canada, and Veem Cross Border, where users can send, spend, hold and invoice money in over 110 countries worldwide. The company also uses blockchain as a tool that allows easy, inexpensive payments.

"By giving entrepreneurs a turnkey solution that handles everything related to payments, Veem sees itself as a partner in the customer's journey," Forzley told Lifewire in a phone interview. "Small businesses are tired of the fees and antiquated technology from legacy payment providers that waste precious time and money. Delivering these services and adapting to the current needs of SMBs is critical to our success and drives everything we do."

Quick Facts

  • Name: Marwan Forzley
  • Age: 50
  • From: Lebanon
  • Random delight: "If I weren't leading Veem, I'd most likely have been an author. I wrote a book back in 2018 called Small Business in a Big World: A Comprehensive Guide to Doing International Business to help entrepreneurs succeed in a global economy."
  • Key quote or motto: "One motto of mine is that I try to separate events of the day from my long-term goals as much as possible. Sometimes the two blend together, and when running a startup, you worry about things that don't end up being that important in the long run."

As Easy as Grabbing a Cup of Coffee

Forzley grew up in Lebanon and immigrated to Ottawa when he was 17 years old. He now lives in San Francisco with his wife and children. He first got his start in entrepreneurship in 2005 when he launched eBillme, a provider of secure cash-equivalent payments for making online purchases.

Forzley sold eBillme to Western Union and took over as that company's general manager of e-commerce and strategic partnerships. He stayed in this role for two and a half years before launching Veem. 

"I founded Veem in 2014, where it was originally known as Align Commerce," Forzley said. "My partner at the time and I came up with the concept to make cross-border payments as easy as purchasing a cup of coffee." 

Since its Veem's inception, Forzley has grown its team to more than 100 globally distributed employees. The company's diverse team works across various markets and time zones to provide support. In addition, interacting with customers is an integral aspect of Veem's growth, Forzley said.

"Small business owners have specific needs, and wear many hats, so we want to make our payments experience as easy as possible."

Recently, a group of Veem's employees has been running a beta program, working with users who provide feedback for inclusion in the company's product roadmap. 

"The insights we receive are invaluable, and our employees enjoy getting insights on how we can keep improving to better understand our customers' day-to-day, their pain points, and their desired payment experiences," Forzley said.

Resources and Access

As a minority founder, Forzley said gaining access to resources and support groups specifically for minorities was not readily available when he started his entrepreneurial career. To overcome these struggles, Forzley began building a community of minority founders, and they often meet to give each other guidance and share challenges and advice.

"As a minority, there are specific challenges that we face, so having the ability to talk to other minorities who understand those challenges deeply is very important," Forzley said. 

One aspect of building a business that Forzley hasn't struggled with is raising venture capital. Veem has raised $110 million across three funding rounds since it first launched in 2014. The company is also growing through partnerships with leading companies like REPAY and Q2. 

Marwan Forzley standing in front of a city building with a large digital display of the Veem logo.

Marwan Forzley / Veem

"It is our pleasure to see this growth happening, as partnerships are an extremely important avenue as we grow our business," Forzley said. "It allows us to further expand our team as we continue to simplify our user experience and constantly enhance it."

Moving forward, Forzley said Veem is laser-focused on customer experience optimization so that users can continue to have a pleasant experience on its platform. 

"Small business owners have specific needs, and wear many hats, so we want to make our payments experience as easy as possible," Forzley said. "We've made a ton of progress so far and only plan to keep improving."

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