US payment giant opens unit in Vilnius, “a small version of Silicon Valley”
The US payment terminal systems’ company Harbortouch has officially opened its Vilnius office. The company was founded by the well-known US businessman Jared Isaacman, a multi-millionaire and mogul of both the payment terminal and aviation industries. Its Vilnius office will house a product development department.
This is Harbortouch’s first office outside its home market. And the company chose Lithuania for this important facility ahead of Estonia, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Latvia, Poland and Romania. At the opening ceremony of the new office, Mr Isaacman explained that when Harbortouch was deciding on a location for its new office, Vilnius was actually the place he knew the least about.
“I knew something about the Czech Republic and Poland, but very little about Vilnius,” Mr Isaacman said. “However, after my first visit to Vilnius I just felt that this city is a small version of Silicon Valley and this was absolutely unexpected. The city, its infrastructure, the prevalence of technology made an impression on me.”
He also spoke about Harbortouch’s establishment 18 years ago, and how the company began life as a very traditional payment card service company which followed basic business principles. Everything changed in 2008, however, when the company decided to embrace technology and focus on developing software and systems to service points of payment.
“The biggest retail and restaurant chains became our clients and suddenly we were a significant, technologically-advanced company,” Mr Isaacman said.
Infrastructure and employees
The news that Harbortouch was setting up in Lithuania was officially announced in March this year. At that time the head of the company said that they selected Lithuania because of its suitable infrastructure, its skilled employees and the positive experience of other US investors in Lithuania.
The presence of companies like Western Union and Uber, and the fact that both the scale and complexity of their operations in Lithuania have rapidly expanded, proved to Harbortouch that they had made the right decision by establishing themselves in Lithuania.
“We were reassured that it is fairly simple to start a business in Lithuania – everything is handled quite fast. The country is open to foreign investments,” Mr Isaacman continued.
For its Lithuanian branch the company will be mostly looking for specialists responsible for developing innovative new settlement POS solutions and payment card processing systems. Harbortouch staff in the USA and Lithuania have already taken part in 4–6 week exchanges.
One of the Leaders
The company, which was founded in 1999 and previously named United Bank Card, presently provides services to 300,000 POS and is one of the biggest payment solution providers in the USA. The system developed by Harbortouch helps execute settlements amounting to about €10.5 billion.
Apart from POS solutions, Harbortouch develops reader information systems intended for payment by digital money and credit card terminals. The company also provides payment processing services, enabling natural and legal persons to pay by credit cards, debit cards, gift and loyalty cards.
In 2015, the company generated revenues worth €280 million, and it has been turning a profit for more than a decade. Presently it employs about 400 people.
World record breaker
Harbortouch is headed by Mr Isaacman, its charismatic 34-year old founder and CEO. He started his life in business when he was only 16 years old, working from the basement of his parents’ house. He is now a multiple-winner of the US businessman of the Year award.
He is also a passionate pilot and one of the founders and managers of the US aircraft leasing company, Draken International. The company has around 80 different aircraft, many of which are military aircraft. In fact, the company is often cited as the private company with the biggest fleet of military aircraft in the world. The US State Defence Department is among the company’s clients.
Mr Isaacman also has numerous aerobatic achievements under his belt, including holding the record for the fastest flight around the world: in 2009, he flew 37,000 kilometres in 61 hours 51 minutes and 15 seconds. The US media has also focused on his philanthropic work, such as organising charity poker tournaments.
Source: Verslo žinios