Project by: Mateusz Swulinski, Kristofer Perez, Lukasz Gryc, Artur Kozuch, Kevin Allan
High Concept Statement:
Carpooling for Payments
Need or Demand:
The payment ecosystem surrounding groups has usually relied on the pooling of cash to settle mutual bills. With the proliferation of credit cards and the lesser need to ever carry around cash, the model has turned into request and reminder platforms (ie. Venmo) to fill the gap due to this change of behavior. A new issue has formed in the face of this transition. With credit cards there is usually only one person that can be the designated responsible party for that commitment. Due to the nature of consuming first and then recouping these costs with friends in a group by requesting money back through Venmo or simply by cash, there lies a new layer of responsibility and management of tracking and making the effort to get this money back. A gap that exists lies in the ease of facilitating group payments not only at social events, but also in apartments with roommates when it comes to bills and shared expenses, where there can be only one person that covers the cost of each monthly financial commitment.
Product / Service / Solution:
SuitePay aims to solve this discrete gap in the marketplace by leveraging the fact that everyone participates in group payments scenarios (apartments, dinner outings etc.), and creates a virtualized card that is generated on the fly with whatever group one is currently with. In the apartment setting, the roommates would create a group that includes the members of their lease and SuitePay would sync all of the bills, shared subscriptions, rent, etc. from applications such as Mint or Prism. From this point, our algorithm would separate the respective amount due by each of the roommates and populate this information into their personal profiles. Each user will be able to pay off their portion of the balance from these profiles using checking accounts, Venmo, credit cards, or any other applicable means. Once these funds are pooled in the application, the payment option would in turn integrate within Prism or Mint Bills to settle the respective bills intelligently based on due dates and amounts thanks to API connectivity. Due to the fact that the outbound pooled money is virtualized and tokenized it can be incorporated into Apple Pay or even serve as a Prepaid Card that has the value of that pooled sum and can be used in almost any group scenario.
From customer research we have gathered that as people have become more connected we have also become more inclined to interact with groups due to the influx of social media and messaging connections that we actively engage with. This larger group interaction has brought about more frequent group activities, as well as, facilitated the rise of young students and professionals living with roommates instead of at home. All of these examples at some point in the process include payments that are enacted by one person that then gathers the remaining funds from the remaining members of that group, most of the time not receiving their money on time or easily. SuitePay automates and streamlines the means in which groups pay for anything together by creating an easy and agile way of pooling each user’s funds that can then be used just like a regular credit card of a single person.
There are competitors that exist in the payment space, but all have been tackling the wrong pain points associated with groups. Numerous startups such as Venmo, Splitwise and more recently Tilt (acquired recently by Airbnb) have focused directly on trying to alleviate the tension associated with debts and repayment means between individuals, but have not tackled the true reason for the issues surrounding the problem. SuitePay aims to fill this gap by removing the need to establish debts with one’s friends by implementing a similar model that was always used with cash, combining people’s virtual money in one place and turning it into one financial vehicle. With the scope and adoption of tokenization and virtualization (Google Wallet, Apple Pay, Samsung Pay) the feasibility of enabling groups to utilize existing technology and networks to drive value in the pooling of payments is a reality for SuitePay to accomplish in a way that these existing technologies have not approached.
SuitePay has multiple revenue streams. There will be customer acquisition revenue associated with new customers created for Prism/Mint through API connectivity as their users are customarily single users and groups not participate in their services. This revenue will also include customer acquisition for the prepaid card provider we will use, to generate and tokenize the funds onto prepaid cards that can be created almost on the fly for various groups. As funds are pooled and sit on our back-end we will generate float on the money that is held in the SuitePay system and not used right away for transactions (similar to the means in which Venmo made the majority of their revenue in the early days). Finally, for the automation of payments (such as monthly bills, and auto-top ups) there will be a small monthly fee per user per month. This will range from a percentage of the cost or a fixed amount per period.