Valeria Vahorovska Founder and CEO - FONDY, A one-stop online payments platform

Manali Mehrishi

31st Oct'23
Valeria Vahorovska Founder and CEO - FONDY,  A one-stop online payments platform | OpenGrowth


Introducing Growth Studio, a Dynamic Platform for Entrepreneurs, At Growth Studio, our mission is to showcase inspiring stories of successful business leaders across various industries to provide insights and guidance to empower your entrepreneurial journey.

In today’s blog, we feature the remarkable journey of Valeria Vahorovska, Founder and CEO - FONDY,  A one-stop platform for online commerce, platforms, and marketplaces that simplifies payments and payouts globally.

Valeria takes us through her remarkable transition from a successful nine-year corporate banking career to the founding of FONDY. Along the way, she overcame numerous challenges, particularly in Ukraine, where cash transactions were the norm and traditional mindsets prevailed. Valeria emphasizes how important it was to have a client-centric approach, localization, and flexibility during her journey.

Moreover, She shares her strategies for expanding her business, staying at the forefront of technological advancements, and leveraging FONDY's distinctive marketing approach

So, let's dive into the key insights from her exclusive interview with Akriti Verma, Co-Founder and Director of OpenGrowth.


Valeria's Journey: From a Corporate Banker to FONDY's Founder


Q: Can you tell us about yourself and your role as the CEO and founder of Fondy?

Valeria: I am Valeria, the founder of Fondy, a fintech company specializing in cross-border payments. This is my second startup. I started with a small team and have since grown to a team of 140. Even with our growth, I still consider us a startup. In 2019, I founded my second startup in London, focusing on closed-board payments for B2B and utilizing open banking to transform the way companies handle payments.


Q: What inspired you to create Fondy and a cross-border payment platform?

Valeria: My background is in corporate banking, and I saw the importance of efficient payments for business growth. If payments are managed effectively, it can significantly enhance sales and expand a company's client base. I realized there was a need to simplify and streamline payments for businesses, especially in markets like Ukraine, my home country, where cashless providers were scarce. This led to the founding of my first company, which provided payment gateways for SMEs. We aimed to make online payment acceptance easy and cost-effective.


Q: Can you share some challenges you faced as an entrepreneur in the payment industry and how you tackled them?

Valeria: It was challenging to change people's behavior when it came to payment methods. In markets where cash was prevalent, convincing consumers to trust online payments was a hurdle. Additionally, building a business without external investment meant we had to be revenue-focused from the start. We strived to be client-centered, although it was sometimes challenging to balance flexibility for clients with providing a service they would use.


Q: Beyond the challenges you mentioned, what specific challenges drove you to simplify online payments for entrepreneurs?

Valeria: The key challenge was changing people's mindset, especially in markets where cash was the dominant form of payment. Consumers needed to trust online payments, and businesses required a reliable and cost-effective solution for online transactions. Simplifying payments was essential to foster trust and increase financial inclusion.


Q: What does it mean to you to be a disruptive brand in the payment industry?

Valeria: Being a disruptive brand means breaking away from traditional payment methods and introducing innovative solutions that change consumer behavior and business practices. In our case, we aimed to transition people from using cash to cashless payments, transforming the way they handle transactions.


Q: How does Fondy differentiate itself in addressing the complexity, cost, and time delays of online payments?

Valeria: Fondy focuses on two key challenges in the online payment landscape: the complexity of cross-border payments and the high cost of transactions. We've developed a platform that allows businesses to manage their entire payment flow in one place. We enable easy fund collection and automatic payment splitting for suppliers, and we work with local payment schemes to reduce transaction costs and shorten the time it takes for funds to move.


Q: Fondy operates in various markets. Can you tell us more about your presence in India and your plans for the market?

Valeria: India is an exciting market with significant potential, especially for cross-border payments. Our goal is to expand to India, where we aim to provide entrepreneurs with a simplified and cost-effective platform for handling multicurrency payments. We want to help Indian businesses grow more efficiently.


Q: As an experienced entrepreneur, what advice do you have for aspiring entrepreneurs just starting their journey?

Valeria: My advice is to be passionate and resilient. Entrepreneurship comes with challenges, but you need to stay passionate about your goals and enjoy the journey. It's essential to keep your focus and surround yourself with the right team and partners who share your vision.


Q: What are the most important lessons you've learned as an entrepreneur?

Valeria: It is critical to concentrate on your role and surround yourself with supportive individuals. Stay dedicated to your journey, and understand that success may take time. Your role as an entrepreneur is not to do everything but to be the driving force behind your vision.


Q: How do you stay updated on the latest trends and innovations in the fintech industry, and how do you implement them in your company?

Valeria: Staying updated is essential in fintech. We analyze consumer needs, market problems, and regulatory changes. We aim to use technology to improve scoring and fraud prevention. Open banking technology helps us reduce costs, and AI plays a role in analytics and risk assessment.


Q: Can you share your experience at the Global SME Finance Forum in Mumbai and any takeaways?

Valeria: The forum was an exciting event, bringing together people from around the world. It reminded me of the importance of access to capital for SMEs. Additionally, open banking technology, working capital solutions, and fraud prevention were key topics. It highlighted the need to address issues in SME finance to promote economic stability.


Q: Lastly, what impact do you hope Fondy will have on the entrepreneurial community and business growth?

Valeria: Fondy's goal is to empower entrepreneurs by simplifying payments and making them more cost-effective. We hope to help SMEs succeed by providing them with tools to efficiently manage their businesses. Ultimately, we want to see more entrepreneurs thriving and contributing to stable economies.


As we navigate the dynamic world of fintech and entrepreneurship, Valeria's experiences and insights serve as a guiding light, inspiring us to overcome challenges, foster innovation, and build businesses that leave a lasting impact. We extend our gratitude to Valeria for sharing her remarkable journey, and we look forward to witnessing the continued growth and success of FONDY.

Elevate your entrepreneurial journey today by connecting with experts through OpenGrowth's on-demand Mentorship and expert services. Our seasoned entrepreneurs and experts from diverse fields are dedicated to guiding you through the challenges faced by startup owners and industry professionals alike.

OpenGrowth is constantly looking for innovative and trending start-ups in the ecosystem. If you want more information about any module of OpenGrowth Hub, let us know in the comment section below

Manali is a versatile content writer with experience in creating compelling blog posts, website copies, and content strategies across several industries. She is committed to delivering top-notch content that meets both her readers' expectations and her clients' standards. Outside of work, she enjoys traveling, baking, and acquiring new knowledge and skills.


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