1. Can you set the stage? How did you first connect with Verizon Ventures and what is it like working with a CVC?
I first met Vijay at Mobile World Congress in 2013. One of the hot topics of the event was using software to simulate payments on mobile phones to offer a more flexible go-to-market tactic for banks. Vijay and I chatted about this area of technology (which SimplyTapp was focused on at the time) as well as the market landscape. After the show, we kept in touch and eventually SimplyTapp became a member of the Verizon Ventures portfolio.
2. SimplyTapp recently announced its first payments app targeting consumers called Gane. Can you share how Gane is an evolution of SimplyTapp’s HCE technology?
Over the past year, SimplyTapp realized that there was a gap in the mobile payment market when it came to having a streamlined experience. While there are several Tap and Pay services, none of the large players in this space offer a seamless experience for the consumer where they can share or redeem a coupon and pay for that item in one place. So the idea for Gane was born. As we developed it we sought to further simplify mobile payments by combining the most sought-after functionality in one easy-to-use app – the ability to instantly collect funds and use that at a register in the real, offline world.
In addition to using transferred money instantly, Gane users can transact and share offers through the app, as well as receive and apply offers automatically at the point of sale using Tap and Pay functionality. Gane’s enhanced real-time functionality is moving the mobile payments industry forward, versus existing apps that fund payments over two to three business days and only allow users to apply those funds within the app or by moving them to a bank account (Click to Tweet).
3. Gane also functions with chatbots embedded in Messenger and Telegram social messaging platforms. How will chatbot technology allow for effective customer engagement and allow platforms to further monetize their offerings?
To further enable a seamless experience for consumers, we wanted to offer chatbot-powered integration with messaging platforms to provide users with services they want in an environment they are already comfortable with. We use a button interface within messaging platforms. In Messenger, Gane looks like another one of your “Friends” and you can click on Gane like you would another contact, or, type “Hi, Gane” and the Gane chatbot will respond with “What would you like to do today?” Buttons will contain the possible actions a user could take within the app.
With Gane integration, social messaging platforms can complete the advertising circle by connecting their “top funnel” ads to Gane’s “bottom funnel” redemption capabilities. Redemption data can then give new analytics that can lead to new services that are built on an “effectiveness” of the overall platform.
4. In your experience, what's the best way to work with an investor like Verizon Ventures?
I’ve learned that having a compelling use case encourages investors to provide feedback the can help move an idea or decision forward. Their input and suggestions relating to how the business is operating, compared to your original thesis, is helpful. Understanding how this impacts the wider market is important, so collaboration is key when it comes to working with investors.
5. What's next for SimplyTapp in 2017?
We are extremely excited to make mobile devices an integral part of in-store payments with the launch of Gane. In the next year, we’ll work hard to both drive usage of the mobile application and also continue building out a robust platform for merchants and marketers to leverage the value of instant access to mobile users in their stores.
Related posts from Verizon Ventures:
As Mobile Payments Mature We Look to Software Solutions, and Welcome SimplyTapp to Our Portfolio
4 Reasons We’re Moving Away From Plastic
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