The company Halcom, which is a pioneer in the area of development of modern solutions for payment systems in Central and South East Europe, is celebrating its 25th anniversary. The international company, which uses agile methodology for developing innovative products and services for financial institutions, is present in eight EMEA markets, and has sold its solutions to 70 banks and three central banks and clearing houses. Halcom's teams of experts harness their knowledge of payment systems, technical expertise and years of experience to provide advanced solutions, products and services.
Every success story begins with a good idea and that was also the case when the founder and long-term owner of Halcom, Matjaž Čadež, realised his idea. Within four years of founding the company then named Halcom Informatika, together with its Danish partner, Belle Systems, installed the first internet system for Telekom Slovenija – Siol. This provided a strong reference and marked the beginning of growth and expansion for the Ljubljana-based IT company. A year later self-employed business people holding accounts at NLB (Nova Ljubljanska Banka) - the first user of Halcom's Hal E-Bank solution - began to use electronic banking. This was the first electronic banking solution in Slovenia and also one of the first in the world that used smart cards.
The company successfully realised its vision and in subsequent years continued to break through onto the market by implementing giro clearing for all Slovenian banks at the Bank of Slovenia, and it also won an international tender for giro clearing for the Central Bank of Bosnia and Herzegovina. In addition, the company established a certifying agency for issuing digital certificates and security features for accessing banking solutions or other portals. The company not only expanded its portfolio of products, but also its portfolio of markets. This happened first through the establishment of associated subsidiaries in Sarajevo and Belgrade. Halcom was among the first companies in Slovenia to develop solutions to support the digitalisation of businesses and implement solutions for exchanging e-invoices within NLB and Abanka's products. Halcom continued to follow users and the strong growth of smartphones and in 2011 successfully launched the first mobile bank with the Raiffeisen Bank in Kosovo. In the following years Halcom introduced Hal E-Bank, a new generation of e-banking solutions that was based on an advanced transactional, sales, service and communication platform that supported a variety of distribution channels.
There is always a phase of the company's growth when it becomes imperative for its founder to build a structure which is no longer reliant on him alone. Thus in 2011 management of the company passed into the hands of Marko Šega, who successfully ran the company until May 2014 when Marko Valjavec was appointed Chief Executive Officer and member of the Halcom board. Prior to his appointment with Halcom, Marko Valjavec had worked for more than 15 years for software development companies in the USA and EMEA markets. With his arrival, Halcom got an expert with many years of international management experience from companies operating in the fields of smart processing applications for business-critical contact with customers and automation of operations in financial processes.
The year 2016 was also a turning point for Halcom. In addition to successfully launching an anti-fraud protection digital banking solutions, the company also gained a new owner – the American company Emphasys Software, which is a wholly owned subsidiary of Canadian based Constellation Software Inc. The Constellation Group covers a wide range of programme solutions and related services to entities in both the public and private sectors.
Halcom is currently the leading European provider of technology solutions for payment systems on three continents. The company is present in eight markets in Central and South East Europe, Africa and the Middle East. It has sold its solutions to 70 banks and three central banks and clearing houses. Halcom believes in an agile approach to seeking innovative solutions and creating products which enable users safe, user-friendly and reliable electronic payment services. The company has 150 employees with an average age of 32, and the team is constantly rejuvenated through active co-operation with students and the transfer of knowledge from more experienced employees.
What are the company's objectives and future aims?
New ownership has brought Halcom a solid financial background, knowledge and organisational support. This enables it to target development of products and services, a continued growth in the number of customers, as well as regional expansion. The key focus in the coming period are advanced solutions for digital banking and harmony with the new PSD2 directive, solutions in the field of clearing and execution of payments in real-time, as well as security features and cloud-based qualified digital certificates, both in the existing and new markets.
Marko Valjavec, Chief Executive Officer of Halcom, said when asked to common on the company's future: “In the past Halcom created a good working foundation. Our objective is definitely to continue this success story of electronic banking and payment systems. In the fields where we have made history and where we have experience and reference, we wish to find new and innovative solutions for our users, or those who perhaps do not yet exist or are unaware of the challenges.” He added: “We certainly want to also grow geographically, to connect with other domestic or foreign companies, and to enable existing customers to grow forward with us.”
On this anniversary we look back over the most important milestones in Halcom's history:
- 1996 – Installs the first internet system for Telekom Slovenija – Siol, together with Danish partner Belle Systems a.d.
- 1997 – Develops the first electronic banking solution in Slovenia and one of the first in the world to use secure authentication against smart cards on the basis of the PKI (public key infrastructure) technology
- 1998 – Starts giro clearing operations for all Slovenian banks at the Bank of Slovenia
- 1999 – Established the certifying agency for issuing digital certificates
- 2000 – Installs communication infrastructure for operating giro clearing for all 43 banks in BiH
- 2001 – Establishes the first centre to rent software-as-a-service in Sarajevo (SaaS)
- 2003 – Wins the 2003 Golden Gazelle award for the best fast-growing company in Slovenia and acquires the BVQI (Bureau Veritas Quality International) agency's certificate for the ISO 9001:2000 quality standard
- 2004 – Halcom's Hal E-Clearing/STEP2 system enables Slovenian banks to connect with all European clearing systems via the Bank of Slovenia
- 2007 – With the Hal M-Payments (1-2-3 Pay!) system, Halcom wins the 2006/2007 Best Entrepreneurial Idea award in the category of innovative entrepreneurial ideas amongst established companies
- 2008 – The daily newspaper Dnevnik selects Halcom as the recipient of the Zlata nit (Golden Thread) award for the best employers in the category of medium and large enterprises
- 2009 – NLB and Abanka begin to offer their customers Halcom's services for the exchange of e-invoices within their products for electronic banking
- 2010 – Together with the Serbian provider of telecommunications services, Telenor, and four commercial banks, Halcom introduces to the market the new PlatiMo service which enables modern, reliable and simple payment using any mobile phone
- 2011 – Introduces a uniform system for exchanging invoices in electronic form, and successfully launches the first mobile bank in the Raiffeisen Bank in Kosovo
- 2012 – Receives a full certificate as a family-friendly company, meaning that the company's concern for its employees is at the highest level
- 2013 – Presents a new generation of e-banking solutions - Hal E-Bank, am advanced transactional, sales, service and communications platform which supports a variety of distribution channels
- 2015 – AmCham Slovenia recognises Halcom's project 'Money Talks 2014, Advanced Skills Workshop' as the best business practice in the choice of 'Best of the Best 2015'. At the end of the year Halcom organises the first financial-technological Hackathon in the Adriatic region, where local and foreign programmers develop additional functional solutions of Hal mBills
- 2016 – Emphasys Software, wholly owned subsidiary of Canadian based Constellation Software Inc, becomes Halcom's majority owner. Halcom launches solutions for anti-fraud protection in the context of digital banking in its key markets.