Paypal buys Braintree for $800M

26 Sept

See Venture Beat Article on Transaction today

I love Braintree… the people, the product, the DEVELOPER COMMUNITY. What does Braintree do? They make payments easy for every mobile and eCommerce developer looking to create a “store” that accepts payments.  They have a very rich developer tool kit, support and payments processing infrastructure which enables payment acceptance in days (from ground 0). Making things easy is actually a very hard thing to do…. which is why Braintree has been so successful.. and their developer community so loyal.

Braintree’s moniker customers include Airbnb and Uber.. Braintree provided much of the generic payment infrastructure so that these companies could focus on their core business value proposition (not on payments). It is VERY important to note that Braintree does NOT own the customers, or have control of the Wallets for Uber or Airbnb.. they are the PROCESSOR.  In other words Paypal will have to work hard to convince every one of Braintree’s customers to accept Paypal as a form of payment, and can’t do anything with the data without specific merchant consent.

I see this acquisition as reinforcing the “core” of Paypal: eCommerce/mCommerce. Paypal had much of Braintree’s vision back in 2009 with the launch of PayPal X. However, it lost significant focus on creating a developer friendly community and platform, particularly 18 mo later with the acquisition of GSI . Given Braintree’s TREMENDOUS human talent, this acquisition could put Paypal back on track: a company that everyone likes and that solves real problems… no more of these wacky physical POS payment solutions driven by former bankers working in Paypal….

I hope eBay can leverage the culture of Braintree to reinvigorate Paypal… and create a mobile payments “platform” that every start up in the valley runs to. Payments should be dumb pipes…  and Paypal should be the no-brainer switch…  The challenge I see for the new combined entity is adapting to the “shifting” value proposition around data, advertising and loyalty.

For example, what if users allow Google maps to include uber car locations and airbnb open rooms? Payments is the easy part .. and margin will deteriorate accordingly.. the REAL money is in bringing retailers customers… Paypal and the other networks have much work to do here.

Also… sorry if there is any ad below this line.. WordPress just started this.. guess I need to upgrade.