Business Development at Mecruryo: Behind the Scenes

Alisa Tkach

Turning failures into opportunities.

Turning failures into opportunities.

Every department is secretly (or not so much) convinced that their work is the most crucial one and the entire well-being of the company depends on it. However, if you talk to business developers, they will quickly convince you that their job is the one that matters the most.

Jokes aside, it is one of the hardest yet most rewarding occupations in any industry. If you only have a vague idea of what these ‘mysterious’ people do, we’ve come up with a piece that explains the challenges and everyday activities of business developers at Mercuryo.   

What Do Mercuryo’s Business Developers Do 

A typical routine of Mercuryo’s business developer consists of searching for new opportunities. The primary task is to find new markets for the company to expand to. An ideal market is a crypto-friendly country where Mercuryo can legally provide its financial services for businesses. If a country doesn’t have a strict ban on crypto transactions, the next big task is to look for payment providers open to the idea of working with digital assets. 

The second objective of our business development manager is to discover local payment methods worldwide that can be used for purchasing cryptocurrency via credit or debit cards and bank transfers. Imagine a Kenyan Mercuryo user who wants to buy a few coins with Kenyan shilling using his local bank card to make it more graphic. To make this transaction possible, we need to find a reputable provider willing to offer this payment method specifically for Kenya, and it’s far from easy. 

If a country is somewhat crypto-friendly and multiple payment providers are willing to work with us, Mercuryo’s business developers then go on a mission of choosing the ones that charge the lowest fees. After all, anyone could use a discount – from wallet users and B2B partners to Mercuryo itself.

Finally, we’re always looking for cooperation with traditional financial institutions, and business developers’ responsibilities include opening bank accounts in various branches around the world. Since Mercuryo is a group of companies, and we have quite a few subsidiaries represented in different countries, we strive to open full-fledged banking accounts for our entities in the countries they operate in. Moreover, the more banks join our infrastructure, the higher are our chances to ensure smooth financial flows between Mercuryo and its partners.

Different markets require a different approach, and it’s only natural that we’ve got certain team members assigned to specific locations. Currently, our managers are conquering four major markets: the US, Europe, Turkey, and Latin America. However, as the crypto regulations tend to change unpredictably, we’re always ready to switch and join a new challenge elsewhere.

The routine of Mercuryo’s business developer includes a lot of media monitoring, from fintech magazines to Telegram channels and personal networks – the managers have to be on top of their game all the time. In modern reality, communication is usually carried online via emails and LinkedIn. However, nothing beats a good old offline meeting – that’s why it’s always better to be physically present in the country you’re developing. 

When the common ground is found, a business developer is responsible for the onboarding procedures, relationship development, and further work with partners to assist them and resolve issues. In some cases, further work can also mean education. In our practice, we’ve had partners, major payment method providers with years of experience working with fiat, asking us to host a master-class explaining the basics of digital assets to their newly-hatched crypto department. Curiously enough, that turned into tradition as later on that year, we’ve given a talk on crypto to another partner, this time reflecting on the subject for a much more advanced audience.  

Onboarding Struggles

Negotiations are just the preliminary bargain. Once both sides come to an agreement, the lengthy onboarding process starts. 

The thing is, we cannot just jump into working with a potential partner right away. First, we need to go through the magical onboarding process, which means passing checks established by a payment provider or a bank. The goal of these checks is to prove we have all the necessary licenses, boast a good reputation, and haven’t been spotted working with dark markets. 

The onboarding process usually consists of two steps: 

  • KYB (Know Your Business) checks – basic standard check of the company
  • EDD (Enhanced Due Diligence) checks – more detailed, in-depth checks of the company’s documents and processes 

Typical questions you’d have to go through are related to the nature of your business and its products and services, details of the cooperation process, funds flow dynamic, and projections on our future cooperation. You would also have to provide all the essential company’s info, including registration docs, licenses, ownership structure, founders, KYC/AML processes, risk policies, transaction monitoring procedures, and IT policies and certificates such as PCI DSS. 

The most exhausting part of these checks is that they sometimes take forever. To a greater degree, the duration of these procedures depends mainly on our partners and can take somewhere between a couple of months and a year. Larger companies PayPal-alike are keeping it real, giving you a rough nine-month estimate (and that’s the best-case scenario). 

One of our payment providers was onboarding us for half a year as they were requesting the same set of documents three times as they kept losing them. “It’s a shame, really, that so many companies give up halfway, refusing to invest too much time or effort into working with potential partners. On the other hand, that works out in our favor, as finding the right partners is not easy. So once we do come across an exciting cooperation opportunity, we make sure to push the matter through,” says Daniil Monchar, one of Mercuryo’s business development managers. 

Ultimately, the smartest thing to do is to undergo parallel checks in several banks. If you want to open a bank account at a certain location ASAP, it will make perfect sense to try to open it in several banks simultaneously, assuming that at least one of them will allow you to do so.

Prospects and Borders

At the moment, Mercuryo’s target markets include the USA, Turkey, Malaysia, Nigeria, Vietnam, Argentina, and some other LATAM countries. We also have partners in line from India, Chile, and Argentina, where we soon expect to enroll alternative payment methods, card acquiring, and bank transfers.

We constantly face regulation-related hardships. For example, the two largest markets of crypto usage among the population, Nigeria and Turkey, are not famous for being stable. As soon as we grew large in Nigeria and started fully incorporating into the local market, the country’s central bank banned all crypto-related transactions altogether. Although it did come as a not-so-pleasant surprise, we’ve learned to look past such inconveniences typical for crypto space. 

“The truth is, emerging markets are highly unpredictable, as local laws can literally change any minute. They are surely hard to deal with, and most of the attempts to incorporate and localize fail,” says Ildar Kayumov, business developer at Mercuryo. “However, we got used to rejections as they come with a job. Although it can be disappointing in the beginning, after a while, it motivates you even more.”

Nodira Sadikova, business development manager responsible for the Turkish market, also points out that the crypto market is a rugged playground. “We have to plan a massive market penetration, establishing multiple partnerships and connections. In Turkey, for example, there is no transparency in crypto regulation, which makes room for fraudulent actions. I talked to over 20 payment providers in a year, and 4 of them agreed to cooperate. Then suddenly, on April 16, The Central Bank of Turkey issued a new regulation that banned using crypto as a means of payment. Now, none of these payment providers can work with us directly.”

The Bottom Line

The business development department is arguably the core department of any business. It comes with taking lots of risks and has to have a long-term vision to make this business happen. 

Business development managers often act as the leading representatives of the company’s products, so they need to know all their intricacies and be ready for any obstacles and closing doors. At the end of the day, as one wise man once said, to achieve something, you need to jump from one failure to another with a big smile on your face.

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