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Norwegian app lays groundwork for carefree online shopping

By adopting new technology, Tollit has managed to fully digitize the Norwegian customs clearance process, simplifying each step of the process including enabling a wide range of payment methods at your choice, all in collaboration with fintech challenger, Optin Bank. Have you noticed a high number of returns from your Norwegian customers? Many Norwegians are tired of being surprised by sky-high and unpredictable customs fees when ordering goods from abroad, and simply decide to not pick up their goods on arrival. End of uncollected and returned packages In Norway parcels from abroad must be cleared through customs from the first NOK, and the rule has created major challenges for the Norwegian postal service, among others, which has a small mountain of uncollected parcels that no one picks up. The reason is often that the consumer has experienced a price shock, and therefore opts not to pick up the package that has been ordered. Often the total price has doubled, or worse, by the time Norwegian customs fees and VAT is added. Customs clearance in a few minutes A simpler, more predictable and not least reasonably priced and understandable customs clearance process has been long awaited. And what about the elaborated payment process and lack of payment options at your customer's choice? The Norwegian app Tollit has it all figured out and is ready to launch this autumn. Tollit is a smart app that will make it easier and cheaper for Norwegian consumers to keep track of their customs clearance of shipments from abroad. Customs clearance is an expensive service today, where the consumer pays a hefty surcharge for the job the freight forwarder does. In addition, the consumers rarely know what they actually end up paying for - and hence ends up leaving the package uncollected at the post office. The mobile phone is the heart of the transaction This is where Tollit comes in. The app is responsible for digitizing the customs clearance and payment process, making it easier, faster and cheaper than with current methods. As a bonus, Tollit continues their work to enable a service completely independent of the freight forwarding agent, and with Optin Bank as a partner, the consumers can pay when it suits them - whether it is now or later.  The mobile phone itself is the heart of the transaction. Customers get a full overview of all costs of import, and freight forwarders will easily be able to integrate with the app and use this as a front-end when communicating payment orders and customs documentation to consumers. Pilot project underway Tollit is scheduled to launch during this autumn and is currently doing a pilot with a UK based online shop. The idea for the app came when the founder of Tollit, Kim Trengereid, was to pick up a package he had bought from abroad. Due to currency changes, it ended up just above the NOK 350 limit for VAT-free online shopping. As a result, the package became twice as expensive, and although his wallet became slimmer, Trengereid was an experience richer. - My immediate thoughts at that time was: There has to be a better solution than this! Trengereid believed that this could be solved without the frustrations he and many others in the same situation have experienced. The road from idea to reality could be reasonably short. He took the idea with him to co-founder and fellow Norwegian, Peter Skarbøvig, and together they have now developed an app where the goods are declared in a simple and straightforward way, customs cleared - and not least paid for - via mobile. Which in turn saves both the end-consumer and the freight forwarder time and cost. Enhanced customer experience For Tollit, Optin's white label payment solution was an obvious choice. Optin Bank is a technology driven bank that offers agile and flexible financial solutions. Optin Bank's goal is to always be at the forefront of technology development to ensure the customer the very best products in relation to financing and payment solutions. - Our focus is to increase the value of existing value chains with our flexible and easily integrated platform, and to enhance the consumer experience. The Tollit app is a great example of integrating an all-in-one solution, contributing to a disruptive, transparent and easy new solution, simplifying the entire shopping experience and solving customer problems. We are very thrilled and excited by partnering up with Tollit, says CEO Harald Dahl-Pedersen at Optin Bank.   Transparent and flexible for the customer Another advantage of the Tollit app is that the consumer pays for the entire process in one place - everything from the purchase of the item, to customs and VAT, the actual customs clearance and shipping - without any surprises. The customers can choose whether they want to pay by invoice, installment, account, Vipps or card.  - It is a very flexible solution for the customers, which we know will be appreciated. We are the only company that offers exactly this solution in today's market, where everything is included. And we believe this will be safe, secure, easy and not least transparent for the consumer, say the two founders. An app to save time, money and frustrations Tollit 's focus has been to develop a technical platform providing a solid foundation for building a stable and flexible user experience. - When the customer buys the item, they simply press the Tollit icon to clear the item. Then we will digitally obtain all information required to clear the item for the customer. Everything is adapted to the Norwegian customs tariff, so we have simplified the whole process - and everything is done in a few minutes. The package is ready for customs clearance when it arrives in Norway, as opposed to having a manual customs clearance. Since the entire process is digitized, it reduces the cost significantly. Our estimations indicate that we can save the consumer up to 70 percent of the cost, says Trengereid, who has initially chosen to focus on the popular nutrients segment. - Part of the reason is that nutrients, including foodstuffs, is exempted from the Norway VOEC scheme, and transitional arrangement. When you purchase such goods, they still have to be cleared in the ordinary manner, and you must pay ordinary import duty, regardless of the value of the shipment.

From Google to entrepreneurship and e-commerce innovation

He jumped off an international Google career. Then he became the founder of Epicenter, Oslo’s new digital innovation house – and the Chairman of the Board of the technology company Optin Bank ASA. Meet Peter Jetzel, Chairman of The Board of Optin Bank ASA: Now he wants to challenge Klarna and build a completely new e-commerce culture from Norway. In addition, he believes that rapid technology development requires brand new forms of collaboration and new ways of developing more innovative organizations. After nine years with international management positions in one of the world’s largest and most innovative companies, Peter Jetzel wanted to use his expertise on completely new challenges. He has held both the positions as Nordic and Northern European marketing director in Google. And during the past year, he was responsible for establishing Google’s strategic digitization programs – in collaboration with both private and public partners in Northern Europe.   Loves entrepreneurship Jetzel received many requests to take Board positions and participate in other companies. But it was only when two completely different startups knocked on the door that he was tempted to leave the acknowledged Google culture. “I love startups! The whole Google culture was characterized by that kind of thinking. Creating an innovation culture that challenges inefficient and established products or services. Building better, faster and more efficient solutions – it’s both important and motivating. This was what I fell for at both Epicenter and Optin Bank,” says Peter Jetzel.   Challenges the Swedish success Klarna It is not a small thing he has given himself to. As the Chairman of the startup Optin Bank, it quickly became clear that they would really challenge the established eCommerce Financing. “We will challenge Klarna and become the best friend of our eCommerce partners,” smiles Jetzel. The Swede speaks “Scandinavian” after an entire professional life in Norway. He believes that Norwegian innovators can enjoy being inspired by several of the large and rapidly growing Swedish technology companies, such as Skype, Spotify, Mojang (Minecraft) and King (Candy Crush). These companies have never been happy to only be big in Sweden – but have always had the goal of becoming a major global player. “Klarna is another good example, but in my opinion, Optin Bank has the potential to become a much better partner for those who deliver goods and services over the net,” he says.   Our partners best friend In Google, Peter learned everything about understanding the customer perspective. This is where the big battle is, he says: “Now that we are going to roll out a whole new model – an eCommerce finance platform for our partners. Then we really must be humble and do what is best for our customers. Optin provides financing for eCommerce partners and their customers, allowing immediate payment to partners whilst offering flexible payment options to the partners’ customers. This enables our partners to increase their sales.” “All too many customers decides to leave the transaction before completed – and just before payment, due to complicated and slow checkout processes. Optin Bank will solve this – so that this can be perceived as something positive for both our partners and the end customer.”   Make Costs of Revenue One of Optin Bank’s visions is to remove payment solutions that both drive up costs and results in far too low sales. Instead, the company offers a financing and payment platform that allows online stores to reduce costs, increase sales – and not least increase revenue from implementing the Optin model: “We who are challengers must think differently, disruptively and do what changes the rules of the game”, says Jetzel. He has spent a lot of time with Harald Dahl-Pedersen, who is the Optin Bank CEO and has the daily responsibility for the bank.” Dahl-Pedersen commented that: “We are incredibly fortunate to have a Chairman with Peter’s eyes and visions; we need a challenger and technology-oriented leader to lift our heads and look outside our own pond. Peter Jetzel has operated at a level that few are able to gain an insight into, which is invaluable for a company in our phase of development. He has helped us set an ambitious course. And not having national or technological barriers gives Optin Bank a strategic advantage,” says Dahl-Pedersen.   Epicenter: Digital innovation house at Holbergs Plass in Oslo Peter Jetzel’s daily workplace is on the newly opened digital innovation house “Epicenter” – located in the old Shell building in Edvard Storms gate 2, across the street to Oslo Met at Holbergs Plass in Oslo. “At Epicenter, we are building a digital innovation house where young technology companies that have passed the establishment phase, so-called “Scale ups, cooperate closely with large established companies. This is to grow faster and drive more efficient and profitable innovation,” he says. Epicenter opened cautiously on October 19, 2018, with 6,000 sqm – but has already expanded twice – and now holds 9,000 sqm and 50 companies. These are offered several flexible workplaces, common areas, meeting rooms, educational programs, exciting events & conference rooms, innovation arenas, fitness centers, restaurants, cafés and much more that are necessary for businesses that are engaged in growth and innovation. “Getting the opportunity to work at Epicenter is a great pleasure and a privilege. Every day I get inspiration and professional refills from some of the country’s most enthusiastic and talented entrepreneurs,” says Jetzel. “The environment is dynamic with a wonderful mix of ambitious entrepreneurs, of all ages. The culture is co-operative, and one generously shares knowledge – so that we all learn a lot about new technology and new business models. It is particularly gratifying that we have women and men from over 15 different nationalities represented here. It helps to increase our understanding of the important global market our members will succeed in competing in,” he smiles. Epicenter’s members include for example, Rema 1000, Bertel O. Steen, Google, Danske Bank, Webstep, Spacemaker, Fjong – and several more are about to move in. Here is also created an arena where the larger companies can cooperate, both with each other – and with the smaller, but rapidly growing technology companies.   Optin and Payr When Peter Jetzel entered the board of Optin Bank, CEO Harald Dahl-Pedersen became very curious about the Epicenter concept. Therefore, he decided to have at least one office day a week at the new coworking arena: “You must live as you learn, and we have benefited from that,” says Dahl-Pedersen. And cooperation with forward-looking startups is for true an important part of the Optin strategy. A good example is a new cooperation agreement with the Norwegian fintech company Payr. In an international fintech magazine, Payr was recently voted one of the Nordic’s 10 hottest fintech companies. “The collaboration has already produced very interesting discussions about business development only after a few weeks from the time we notified the market about the agreement,” says Harald Dahl-Pedersen. “This is how we like to work”, concludes chairman Jetzel, “If we want to be the best, we must also associate ourselves with the most innovative and forward-looking partners,” he says.   More about Optin Bank ASA: Optin Bank in cooperation on e-commerce: https://aptic.no/optin-bank-2/ Optin Bank has signed eCommerce agreements: https://optinbank.no/globalassets/public-site/investor-relations/pressemelding-optin-bank-asa—markedsinformasjon.pdf Optin Bank partnered with Payr: https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:6532188800330846208

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