During a joint session Shemer Katz, General Manager of SafeCharge Israel discussed and gave insight into trends in payment strategies. Shemer was joined by client Leopold Maurel, cofounder and Head of Marketing for GGCorp. When seeking a payment solution, Shemer advises, “One of the things you have to consider is the global coverage, the proper risk management solution in order to minimize fraud . . . There are plenty of considerations from the game itself, what your targets are, what your target markets are and so on.”
Shemer Katz is General Manager at SafeCharge Israel, a company that specializes in innovative payment technologies. He is responsible for managing a team of almost 150 people in their Tel Aviv office. Several years ago, his friend and CEO of SafeCharge, David Avgi, asked Shemer to join him in making the company a success. He agreed and now leads the company’s product strategies for online and mobile payment as well as its corporate marketing strategy. These days you could find him giving input to the development team on new payment technologies, brainstorming on marketing strategy and branding and interacting with clients. What he enjoys most about his work is giving each employee the opportunity to progress and improve and enabling each of them to have a positive impact on the company as a whole.
Always Be a Step Ahead
Shemer is an expert on internet business models and before joining SafeCharge, he held key management positions at several internet initiatives, including the innovative startup Relmage. He says, “When working in high-pressure environments where constant changes are occurring, it is important to be flexible and have a number of alternative solutions.” Past experiences in his career have taught him to always be a step ahead and to have several solutions ready at any given moment.
As a child, Shemer was attracted to the idea of becoming an engineer, and, in fact, if he were not in the online industry, he would still want to be an engineer. He was excited by the possibility of inventing sophisticated machines and building something. Although he may not be building physical machines now, he is certainly paving the way for sophisticated and innovative technologies.
Inspired by Speed
He has always worked in technology companies, but when introduced to the online industry, he immediately noticed the fast pace. He discovered the speed and technology expertise used in online payments and was inspired to learn more about this industry. As he relates, “I fell in love with how quickly things happen and how it is possible to see immediate results.”
However, he has discovered that constant challenges also occur. There are risk and fraud issues, deadlines when releasing new products, as well as other difficulties. Through it all, he insists a good team can overcome all challenges.
The most satisfying time in his career was the IPO of SafeCharge. He says that this was the right time to take the company public and he has since seen it go from strength to strength.
Changing Audiences with the Move to Mobile
Shemer believes mobile will continue to increase in importance in the games industry; this will be a key focus for the company in the coming year. The move to mobile games and the growth of apps is constantly growing; as well, games that were traditionally played on consoles and browsers are moving toward mobile. New game developers are uploading to the cloud and developing games specifically for the mobile market and sites such as YouTube and Facebook. And gamers now enjoy being able to download games for free, paying only to access higher levels within the game.
The audiences for games are also changing. Console users, traditionally teenage males and die-hard gamers, have been joined by a much wider mobile audience that includes many more women and younger teens. Payment managers now note that their primary audiences are often made up of women between thirty and forty years old. So SafeCharge continuously updates and develops advanced payment solutions for players and game developers.
Consolidation is a key aspect of the games industry and mergers are taking place in response to the difficulty of retaining users. The companies that are not consolidating are searching for new users in new markets as they extend their global reach. SafeCharge is in a position to provide alternate payment methods for the new markets they are entering.
Shemer advises people interested in a career in the online industry that they must be flexible since this is such a dynamic industry. And he emphasizes, “The more you put into this industry, the more you will achieve.”
In his free time, as a health conscious person, Shemer likes to keep fit with running. He finds, “It clears the head and gives me the opportunity to reboot my system.”
Catherine Quinton is a staff writer for www.gamesauce.org. Catherine loves her hobby farm, long walks in the country and reading great novels.