Centili, a global digital monetisation company, is at the MWC 2021 in Barcelona showcasing and discussing the latest trends in digital monetization platform-as-a-service, an area the company has been focusing on for several years.
In an exclusive interview with Telecom Review, Centili Group CEO Zoran Vasiljev shares insights on the company’s latest efforts in this emerging digital ecosystem.
Congratulations on being recognized as the most innovative mobile payment solutions brand in 2021. Can you tell us how Centili made this achievement?
We embarked on a strategy in 2020 to rebrand and reposition the company above and beyond as just a mobile payments organization to a complete digital monetization company. And with that in mind, we also put in place a new strategy, which we call shifting gears, which allowed us also to focus on the areas that matter the most to our customers and partners. One of the elements of the new strategy was to reposition and move the company away from just a payment gateway into a Platform as a Service, and a monetization platform company. That has put Centili and its brands in a different direction. We are very pleased that the industry, the market, and the customers are recognizing us as an innovative brand and company. After 10 years in existence, Centili is now moving and raising the bar to the next level.
What is the importance of having a good digital monetization platform for the telco operators’ long-term revenue growth?
Telcos and the communication industry have been under pressure for a long time and have been disrupted. Over the last years, we have seen many operators looking for ways of entering and running digital businesses. To run a successful digital business, you either need to upgrade and modify the platforms, and the services you are offering to your customers or you need to set up a different business unit, a different venture, and invest in different systems.
Centili has built a business 10 years ago on the premise of helping operators monetize digital experiences. We have a robust platform that provides seamless integration into an operator backend and operator system with one API, and at the same time, has acquired over 300 digital merchants that are willing and ready to monetize their content, services, or their apps into an operator base of users.
Centili has evolved and moved into a platform as a service model. We also provide white label solutions to operators, system integrators, and system aggregators. They would want to replicate the 10 years of service and work that we have put in and monetize faster and run a successful digital business.
What are the biggest advantages of telco players in utilizing your products Centili Maestro and Centili Fusion?
The two distinctive services or offerings that we've made over the last year are Centili Maestro, which is our white label Platform-as-a-service that we provide to operators who want to run their digital businesses independently. The platform comes all pre-loaded with merchants, different payment methods and additional services. It can authenticate the users and block fraudulent activities as a robust payment mechanism to facilitate bundle services offerings. And that is where Centili Fusion comes into play, because very often we have realized that many digital merchants or digital service providers would like to have a closer relationship with operators. And one way of doing that is to bundle their service in operator data packs or operator SIM cards. And that is done seamlessly through Centili Fusion whether it is a soft bundle, hard bundle, or some kind of data gifting whereby the merchant utilizes and purchases a large box of data through us from the operator to gift the data back to their users as either a reward system or an acquisition tool or as a stimulus to continue to use the service more and make it more attractive.
In a world where telcos strive to shift from being CSPs to DSPs, how can Centili support this digital transformation?
Digital transformation is no longer just a project. I think it's a continuous and new way of doing business. It's a continuous investment and growth into new relationships and partnerships. Centili has positioned itself as a company that invests and takes time to understand the problems of our customers and their industries to create a platform and an ecosystem from which everybody can benefit without repeating or doing something that is not their expertise. Telcos should continue to provide telco services and do the best that they can do.
Digital companies should focus on digital creation and be innovative as there are enablers and ecosystem orchestrators as well. That is how we see our value as a company to bridge and enable different components of this ecosystem to work together without feeling that there's a threat or competition. I think it's all about just making sure that as you orchestrate, it is safe, secure, and makes money in the marketplaces that you choose to go.
What is your commitment in line with MWC 2021’s key theme “Connected Impact”?
I think our business is all about being connected. We are connected to over 300 operators and over 300 digital merchants operating in 85 countries around the world. So for us, the whole business is about global connectivity and global connection. In a world of digital experiences, it's all about identifying new sources, connections, experiences, and relationships. As far as the theme is concerned, we fit right in it. And I hope the theme continues for many years to come.
What can we expect from Centili for the rest of 2021 and the years to come?
We are on a growth trajectory as a company that is continuously looking to expand its scope. We are in a place where we want to scale up. There are a couple of acquisitions that we are looking to make. We are going to continue to invest in our platform and services. We are going to see an explosion of Centili Maestro as our platform as a service model as something that has been very well received from the market and our customers, something that's also very well understood. And I think with that we are probably kind of carving out a nice niche space for Centili to claim the space and continue to be one of the leading digital monetization companies in the world.