How to Stay Ahead of the Market

Next Big Thing 2016: "There's always a new channel to monetize," says Payfirma's Michael Gokturk

Written by As told to Murad Hemmadi

Michael Gokturk is the CEO of Vancouver-based Payfirma, a platform that enables merchants to accept payments across multiple channels. Here, Gokturk explains why he started the company, and how it intends to win in 2016.

Michael_Gokturk_Sunan_Springs-Payfirma-P_Hubert_Kang-Next_Big_Thing_February_2016-300x450Payfirma CEO Michael Gokturk (at left) and CCO Sunan Spriggs (at right). Photo: Hubert Kang

We entered the market to solve a problem, which was, “How do I accept credit cards on my mobile phone?” We were the first in Canada to enable that. Then we got into e-commerce, solving a problem for businesses that had websites but weren’t able to accept payments on them. And we can now integrate into existing point-of-sale terminals and desktop systems in brick-and-mortar stores.

“The banks in Canada when we entered the market were defensive about startup entrants. But progressive banks opened their arms and said, “Where’s the market going and what is the future need?” What allowed us to really gain traction and credibility in the market was partnering with CIBC in 2013. That allowed us to acquire customers at a very rapid pace.

“We’re seeing more and more entrepreneurs come to market and more and more businesses start up. All these businesses eventually have to monetize—to accept payments.

“And there’s a new trend called €˜multi-channel,’ where businesses are now selling across every channel available to them—online, social, in their stores, mobile. We can take the payment across all three.

“Bitcoin became popular, right? We turned it on, and within a few minutes, 6,000 of our customers could accept bitcoin. If tomorrow businesses want to accept KardashianCoin or TrumpCoin and consumers want to use it, we can turn it on. They don’t have to open a new merchant account every time they have a new channel to monetize.”


Which channels are you selling across at the moment? Which ones would you like to monetize in the future? Let us know by commenting below.

Originally appeared on