Photo credit Stripe.com

Note — this article was written in January, 2014. Since then Stripe has grown to a $95 Billion valuation in 2021.

Stripe Payments surprised many in the investment community with a valuation pegged at $1.75 Billion early in 2014. I am both a customer of Stripe myself and a partner through my payment analytics company Control, so I personally am not surprised. Their simple integration technologies and easy merchant onboarding solve some of the biggest known problems in the payment processing space. …


How I used Computer Vision & Deep Neural Networks to Modernize ID Verification

One of my main theses at the last company I founded delved into both the rich and anonymous nature of transactional data. A transaction can contain an unlimited amount of deep metadata about a user’s identity ( name, address, birth date, etc.) but there lies a disconnect between the binary data a user may self disclose, and the multidimensionality of the actual, legitimate identity of the user behind a particular transaction.

Control Pitch Deck 2017

If this disconnect could be resolved, certainly there would be a use-case for using identity augmented…


Customer acquisition is the cornerstone of any viable business. But are you spending too much time and money trying to lure new customers?

It’s important that operators understand how much their business is spending on acquiring customers. Calculating customer acquisition costs (CAC) will not only give you a terrific insight into your marketing team’s performance but also show investors whether your business has the ability to scale or not.

How to Calculate Customer Acquisition Costs

Total Cost of Marketing / Total Number of Customers

Customer acquisition costs are calculated using the following formula:

Let’s say you own Get Shirty, a subscription commerce business that sells men’s…


There’s no doubt that a subscription-based business needs to keep a close eye on its churn rate. But is it necessary to track both Customer Churn and Revenue Churn? And if your business decides to only track one churn metric, should it concern itself with Customer Churn Rate or Revenue Churn Rate?

To answer this question, we must properly understand each term and its purpose.

Customer Churn Rate = # of customers lost in a period / total # of customers at beginning of period
Revenue Churn Rate = revenue lost in a period / total revenue at beginning of…


Which is more valuable — a new customer or a repeat customer? Should McDonald’s advertise to people who love Big Macs, or to people who prefer Whoppers from Burger King? There are strong arguments to be made for either choice.

Repeat customers are already loyal to your brand, and with this loyalty comes an incentive to buy. Repeat customers may also be more prone to sign up for new services or products.

On the other hand, the acquisition of new customers may bring your company to the next level. To stay with our burger example, the people who love Big…


Dropout billionaires have cast serious doubt on the value of an MBA. But I couldn’t have raised my first million without one.

Ten years into my professional career, I was promoted into a director role in a mid-sized company — and was beginning to think about launching my own firm. Still, in meetings people would often assumed I would take minutes, even though I’d been invited for my expertise and ideas. …


For businesses, the only relevant data is data happening right now.

Small-to-medium-sized businesses (SMBs) are changing. The next generation of SMBs are working together to support each other, in turn spawning new ecosystems and collaborations. At Control, our payment analytics software is part of a real-time collaboration: one that presents real-time analytics to business owners, which is more important than ever in a fast-paced business climate. The Intuit 2020 report tells us that “those who become proficient in the collection, management and analysis of digital data will gain competitive advantage, leaving others behind.”

My experience in the field of business analytics and data-management software engineering has taught me a few key…


John Collision, Unplugged

On October 25, I had front-row seats to a Code Commerce Series event in Las Vegas, featuring a conversation with Recode’s Jason Del Ray and Stripe co-founder and president, John Collison.

It’s been 5 years since Stripe launched to the world with the intention of eliminating the friction of starting an online business and increasing the GDP of the Internet. Here are a few highlights of Stripe’s accomplishments:

  • Stripe Connect, enabling painless payment acceptance across omnichannels.
  • Stripe Atlas, a program enabling international startups to access the same resources as those in the Silicon Valley.
  • Stripe Relay, an app enabling consumers…

Warning: this post contains food and cooking analogies

When it Comes to Data, Are Our Eyes Bigger Than Our Stomach?

We are living in the all-you-can-eat buffet of data. While we are jumping from one warming tray of stats to another, we fill our plates with information and most of it is filler, indigestible, and unhealthy for your business to be gorging.

Knowledge is no longer as simple as writing down or reading something. Knowledge is the ability to take the information presented, decipher it, and apply it to a problem that currently exists.

When you are running a small eCommerce business you don’t have the capacity to be reviewing data all day. The business information you have must be…


How and Why We Redesigned our App

Payment data is our thing, but we are bombarded with data, analytics, and information all day, every day. It comes with the territory, yes, but it doesn’t have to be daunting or overloading.

We want to deliver digestible information, so that when business managers make decisions, it looks easy.

The Utility of Design:

When we started Control, the purpose of the product was to give our primary personas — small-medium business owners — the information they need when it is most needed, regardless of their location or device.

Why mobile first? Because mobile is immediacy. If a…

Kathryn Loewen

CEO, product manager, and aspiring data scientist. Founder of Control, a payment analytics company. Follow my work at https://www.kathrynloewen.com.

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