Maria Patsi: “We are a leading company in loyalty programs and customer engagement solutions
Warply's Co-Founder & Chief Operating Officer (COO) speaks exclusively to STARTUPPER MAG about the evolution of the Greek Startup into one of the leading providers of technological solutions and innovation worldwide and reveals the "secrets" behind the successful undertaking and implementation of major projects and programs in Greece and abroad
S.M.Warply is a leader in Greece in loyalty programs in both B2C and B2B, with many distinctions and awards as well as a dynamic presence in international markets. What is Warply’s profile today and what services do you offer your customers today?
Maria Patsi: First of all I would like to thank you for the interview – I have been a fan of the magazine since its launch and I am very happy to be taking part in this issue. Warply was one of the first Startup companies in Greece that today has grown consistently into a major provider of technological solutions and innovation in the world.We are indeed the leader in loyalty programs and customer engagement solutions, with offices in Athens, Dubai, Sao Paulo and customers all over the world. We provide digitization solutions, design strategy and implement large-scale programs for companies, brands and the public sector.
Today Warply provides integrated solutions – strategy / architecture / marketing proposals, etc.It also provides the AI Loyalty & Customer Engagement platform Warply Engage – a 360′ “tool” for marketing, sales and HR. It is an ecosystem of omnichannel services including loyalty mechanisms, e-commerce, campaigning, games, coupons, CRM, marketing automations, digital payments and more. I don’t want to bore you with details about the product, but I always mention it, as the Warply Engage platform is the result of the hard work of many people and a lot of investment that has been made on our part and is a product that I am really very proud of! Our platform and services are used by many companies such as Eurobank, National Bank, Germanos, BP, EKO, Pernod Ricard, EOT, OKAA, Kafkas, etc. and has been awarded multiple times as the best loyalty and customer engagement product.
S.M. Essentially, Warply is one of the leading Greek Startups with very important customers that provides advanced solutions based on innovation and technologies but operates essentially as an international company. A real “success story”. In your opinion, what is the reason for your successful course in Greece and abroad?
Maria Patsi: Today, we have a platform that competes worthily globally with Startups that have raised hundreds of millions, while now we enter the RFP of large global customers and win them! Of course, it is not only the product, the technological solution that matters – but our general experience and the strategy we offer.In practice, we are not the company that simply gives technology – we provide the best proposal on how a company can use our technology and – most importantly – we undertake and manage the programs we design. As I mentioned before, I’m really very proud of Warply and what we’ve accomplished. We are a small Greek company, without any help – without foreign funding – and while we are struggling with multinationals, we have managed not only to grow but let us also remain independent. And that’s really hard but also wonderful together. And we have accomplished it with a lot of work and always keeping in mind that we should not be complacent. We have customers in the company that have been with us since the beginning – over 10 years – such as Epistrofi and Eurobank and in general we have an expanded clientele, with great brands and excellent partners and customers.We also have the pleasure of working globally with Mastercard on innovation projects, both in new digital payment solutions and in projects around tourism and e-commerce. This is a collaboration that started about 3 years ago and gave us the opportunity to have customers all over the world. For example, we are currently working and will be launching projects in Bermuda, the Cayman Islands and Australia.
S.M. You mentioned earlier that Warply is implementing long-range programs for the State as well, which has been digitized and mainly modernized in recent years at a rapid pace. It is one aspect of your activities that has not been particularly highlighted. I talked a little bit about these projects or programs that you have implemented.
Maria Patsi: Both in Greece and abroad, we have projects with the State. Abroad, we mainly run tourism promotion projects with a platform, mobile apps and mobile wallet. In Greece we also have some projects, such as the e-katanaloti for the Ministry of Interior, in 1555 for the Ministry of Labour and of course the Visit Greece app for the Ministry of Tourism and the Greek National Tourism Organization.Especially for Visit Greece, I would like to make a bigger reference as within the 2 years since its launch it has become the largest Greek application with over 3,000,000 users, most of whom remain active users of the app. Also, we have managed to have more than 5,000 merchants, while we do around 10 new CRM campaigns every month.A huge project, which has become one of the most successful case studies worldwide, with the exclusive sponsorship of Eurobank and mastercard and without any media spending for its promotion. This project is not far from our core business, as we design strategies and projects of users’ engagement – loyalty is an expression of this.
S.M. You recently announced the launch of the Warply Academy programme. How come you decided to expand in the field of executive training by offering essentially specialized knowledge with practical application, based on your experiences and know-how?
Maria Patsi: Warply as one of the first companies with strong Startup culture back in 2012, is a big accelerator, being the first stop in the careers of many professionals who currently excel on the other side of the Atlantic, and in companies from Google to Facebook.As part of our ten-year contribution to the ecosystem this year, we decided to intensify the executive training program, launching The Warply Academy, a carrier acceleration program with hands on tasks and curriculum aimed at graduates, professionals who think about reskilling in the field of digital technologies, but even to new undergrads who find the traditional system of higher education obsolete. We will be announcing more soon.
S.M. As one of the companies with technology at the “core” at the heart of your growth and innovation a key feature of the services you provide to your customers around the world, you are closely following international developments and global trends, where metaverse as well as web3 are emerging rapidly. Are you planning new services and products?
Maria Patsi: We are studying very closely the developments in the field of decentralized technologies and metaverse and we have proceeded with encouraging pilots along with some of our multinational customers. These focus on branded NFTs, but also virtual rewards in the digital meta-world.In no case would we want to launch a gimmick or something that will not have at its core the addition of value for the final consumer, so we are very careful to find the essential next product for rewards in the metaverse.
S.M. We would like to focus on you as the co-founder and manager of a successful Startup such as Warply and at the same time as a representative of female entrepreneurship in the Greek technological sector. What was your professional path that provided the springboard for the… jump of the founding of Warply?
Maria Patsi: Let me start with a small introduction in order to introduce myself to your readers. I started my career in 2004, as a communication and public relations consultant, then I was an executive specializing in Social Media, digital marketing and ecommerce, before moving to Warply as a CMO initially.My journey in the field of communication is long. And my personal career in the field of Startups started from my position as Communications & Creative Director in getitnow.gr – it was an innovative venture by the Public Group that looking back today, I realize that it worked like a Startup.
S.M. How difficult is it for a woman to be a successful executive, co-founder and mother at the same time?
Maria Patsi: The field of technology in general is difficult, on the one hand because there are constant changes and on the other hand because the implementation times in digital are inexorably fast.It is even more difficult for women who unfortunately are few in the field of technology. It’s a hard truth, but it’s a male-dominated labor sector. It is something that needs to change and I personally have it as my goal to contribute as much as I can.
I am at Warply almost 6 years old, having now also taken on administrative duties. My role in the company is quite complex, mainly I deal with Marketing and Client Service but also product development, etc.
I am a mother of 3 children – I have a four-year-old girl and recently had twin boys – and although time is a big challenge now, I continue to work with the same passion and with the same love for Warply as on the first day.