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Davos 2020: PayPal boss Dan Schulman says ‘all firms will become platform companies’

PayPal chief executive Dan Schulman on platform firms

PayPal chief executive Dan Schulman said the pace of computing power, big data and artificial intelligence mean that all firms “will become platform companies.”

The head of the Californian-based payments giant added: “Computing fabric is continually expanding, 5G technology is opening up because of expanding battery life. Data spawns a lot of innovation for us, and machine learning and artificial intelligence will be built into every machine and every application.

“The physical world and the digital world blurring together. You’re seeing that happening in payments, you’re seeing that happening across multiple industries. We are all moving to become platform companies that move from one adjacent seat to others . . . and those platforms are redefining the way we think about industries, economic models and business models.”

The head of the firm, valued at $136bn, was talking to business and world leaders during a panel discussion at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

 

Big data, flexible platforms

Schulman pointed out that its platform had allowed the payments firm, founded in 1998, to diversify into working capital loans to small business. This unit has lent over $10bn to 225,000 small businesses in the US, UK, Australia, Germany, and Mexico since it was founded seven years ago. It is the third largest lender of working capital in the US.

The PayPal boss adds that his Working Capital unit “lends a lot to minorities and women, often in areas where local banks have closed down, and has cut down application waiting times from days to seconds”.

Schulman added: “That’s using data, and communication and scale to create value that you would not have seen in the traditional world.”

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Roger Baird

Roger Baird is News Editor at Finixio. He has worked as a financial journalist for 20 years reporting on companies, capital markets and the UK economy.