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Suneera Madhani, Fattmerchant

Suneera Madhani, founder and chief executive of Orlando's Fattmerchant, is in the midst of preparing a move to 4,000 square feet in the historic Metcalf building on Downtown Orlando's Wall Street, leasing the entire fourth floor.

The move is a short one in distance -- across the street from her current location -- but big in terms of what it says about her company, which helps small businesses accept credit card payments by providing them with services and equipment, like credit card machines and back office systems.

The shift will more than double Fattmerchant's office size. Fattmerchant has occupied her current site since starting operations a year-and-a-half ago, and it's time to get more space and do some hiring.

“We are a team of 20 and have enough room to grow to 40, which we expect to do,” Madhani said.

As for heading a growing, successful company at the age of 28, she says, “I never really think about my age. It’s more about getting the job done in the best way for our customers.”

The first part of Fattmerchant stands for fast, affordable, transaction, technology. “We wrote down all of the core values of what we wanted to be as a company and those were the ones that stuck out,” Madhani said.

And putting them to work has been paying off, after paying some dues.

Madhani said her company had 2,000 percent growth from 2014 to 2015, going from $5 million in transaction volume to $110 million. "And we are not done,” she said.

Madhani graduated less than seven years ago from the University of Florida with a degree in finance and a minor in leadership, a track that involves how to be a good manager.

She wanted to work on New York City's Wall Street right out of college, but, she said, "There were no jobs available. That is when the market had crashed.”

Instead, Madhani was recruited by Philip Morris (now Altria) and worked out of the tobacco company's Lake Mary office as a sales manager for almost three years.

But, “I wasn’t passionate about standing behind my product, tobacco, so I quit,” she said.

She then joined a unit of First Data that processed credit card payments for businesses and worked there for three years, and also ended up quitting.

“I hated selling credit card processing more than I hated selling tobacco,” Madhani said.

She felt the card payment processors were taking advantage of the small businesses they dealt with by overcharging them.

So she decided to stay in the business, but do it a different way and set up Fattmerchant. The difference, Madhani says, is Fattmerchant is the first merchant services provider that does unlimited credit card processing on a subscription basis.

This is a better situation because by being a membership service, fees that can be charged are capped, Madhani said.

The business started with Madhani and her brother, who is now chief operating officer; and her first hire, an asstant “who acted as our right hand,” and is now managing director.

Madhani wants to take the company much, much further.

“I want to be able to use our services to assist as many small businesses as possible and save every business owner every penny possible,” she said.

She is passionate about her clients because “they are the heart of America. They support our economy.”

Madhani has lived in Orlando for 12 years, after growing up in Dallas, Texas.

She came to the area to attend college, and feels Orlando “is a great, growing city with a lot of potential still ahead of it.”

Karen Talley
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