M.R. Asks 3 Questions: Jehan Luth, Founder & CEO, Banyan

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As a multidisciplinary professional with a background in health data, AI, ML, IT analytics and corporate R&D, Jehan was able to recognize a gap in verifiable receipt data.

With a unique career combination of Computer Science, Public Health Epidemiology, and Privacy Law, Jehan built Banyan to enable merchants and banks to deliver personalized services to their customers. He worked in CPG while at Campbell’s Soup, and FinTech/OCR while building receipt-capture apps for clinical trials at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health.

This conversation is a light into the corners of an industry not often covered. 

 

M.R. Rangaswami: What trends are you seeing in fintech?

Jehan Luth: The pandemic accelerated the trend of consumers wanting more digital options. That’s why fintech valuations have gone through the roof – there’s tremendous demand. As one part of that larger trend, digital wallets are making contactless payments increasingly easy — as those who have recently taken the NYC subway may have noticed.

Thanks to the rapid spread of digital transactions, the fintech space is expanding. But it remains inefficient for credit-card companies, for example, to try to build relationships, strike deals and integrate their data with every retailer on the planet. They’d much rather work with one company, like Banyan. It helps that we’re not competitive with such companies. We don’t process payments, we’re not consumer-facing. So a lot of the larger credit-card and debit-card companies in the country see us, correctly, as the pipes that help the data flow.  

 

M.R.: How should retailers be thinking about receipts these days?
 
Jehan: As most merchants know, consumers don’t like paper receipts. But asking consumers to sign up for e-receipts one at a time at every single store they visit is a losing game. Consumers and merchants both find those requests a hassle. Moreover, consumers aren’t ready to trust every individual retailer to handle and secure their purchase data. And why should they?
For merchants, meanwhile, receipts are underutilized assets. If retailers and banks handle those receipts properly, they can leverage BanyanReceipts to glean consumer insights far deeper and more specific than anything that had been possible before. And those insights lead to revenue for retailers.
 
Digital receipts offer retailers a new form of monetization — one built on an asset that’s going to keep them in business, with upside from marketing deals with banks and more. Every time a retailer receipt is used in our network, the retailer gets paid. It’s a very transparent system. Retailers and consumers know where their data is at all times.
M.R.: What do banks need to do to stay competitive?

Jehan: Banks need to provide the services their consumers want with full transparency, and with the kind of value that consumers are getting from the numerous apps that hundreds of millions of people are using today.

We’ve seen banks use our data to reduce fraud, create better personal experiences for consumers, and create better card-linked offers. Different banks are drawn to different use cases. The beauty of this for banks is that there are multiple businesses within the banks that work with us. This data is so ubiquitous — it’s an ingredient that powers many departments. The banks think, “Someone’s finally unlocking level-three receipt data. Everyone’s wanted it for years. Now it’s happening.” 
 
 
M.R. Rangaswami is the Co-Founder of Sandhill.com

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