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Pipeline Roundup: Matt Medlock, PaySAFE

Matt Medlock comes from four generations of bankers.

He received his formal training and an undergraduate degree focused around his plan to be a banker for the rest of his life.

That is, until, he came down with a self-diagnosed case of the “entrepreneurial bug.”

“I really enjoyed the industry of helping people with their money,” Medlock said. “I always saw myself on the other side of the desk helping businesses, instead of being one.”

But in 2011, after 20 years in banking, Medlock’s “entrepreneurial bug” turned into a disease and he left his job as vice president at First National Bank of Omaha to work on starting PaySAFE —SAFE stands for “secured audited funding and escrow.”

“It just got to a point where there was an opportunity that I didn’t think I could pass on,” he said. “It was not an easy decision but it was one that took a lot of time and effort. But when it came down to it with the proper research it was a no-brainer to take that leap.”

PaySAFE functions as an online closing table, providing buyers and sellers with a platform to create, negotiate and close trades with financial protection.

The Omaha-based company serves as a third party to hold and distribute funds when customers are buying products online or buying and selling cars, artwork and even agriculture equipment.

Shortly after starting PaySAFE, Medlock heard about Pipeline and started  filling out an application. He said he learned a lot from the application process and the way the program encourages entrepreneurs to give a detailed outline of their business on paper.

But that was just the beginning of the learning, he said. As a Pipeline fellow, Medlock filled in the gaps in his banker-focused brain to figure out how his business needed to grow in order to succeed.

“What we figured out is that the company tells you where it wants to go and you end up finding the company within your company,” he said. “The key to success seems to be figuring out what the target market is and zooming in and getting a reaction to it. Pipeline and our natural growth has allowed us to focus in among the noise and really get to the core of what we do.”

Learning where PaySAFE is weak and strong was a vital part of his experience at Pipeline. It wasn’t always easy, but Medlock said it showed him where he had potential for growth and where he needed additional help.

“I think it’s always difficult when someone calls your baby ugly, but it’s a very crucial part and you have to realize what the market is telling you and what neutral parties are giving you for feedback,” Medlock said.

Last August, PaySAFE received a strategic investment from Ho-Chunk Inc., an economic development corporation of the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska. Medlock credits the investment to knowledge he gained through Pipeline, and it allowed PaySAFE to expand its staff and ramp up marketing efforts.

Medlock hopes to increase brand awareness in this next year and continue growing PaySAFE with his expanded Pipeline network.

“(Pipeline) allows a one-person shop to have the knowledge of a corporation,” he said. “When you’re folded into the family you don’t have to be by yourself. They help validate or contradict your thought process.”

*** This story is part of a five-part series about the five Pipeline fellows from Nebraska and how their year in the program impacted their business and personal growth.  ***