Featured Startup Pitch: Pavilion.io is using Bitcoin’s underlying tech to build a new level of consumer trust in ecommerce
Pavilion.io is a blockchain-based company that utilizes the power of Bitcoin’s underlying technology to create decentralized applications that remove middlemen. Our first set of APIs, know collectively as ‘Trustless Exchange,’ consist of an automated escrow mechanism and blockchain verification interface that eliminate the need for ecommerce buyers to place trust in sellers or third-party escrow providers on sites such as eBay and Alibaba. Better yet, Trustless Exchange eliminates escrow fees entirely. Although we use Bitcoin technology on the backend to facilitate the transaction, Trustless Exchange will be integrated into any ecommerce platform in a white label fashion such that users will still use dollars for purchases, and be unaware they are utilizing our service. Instead, buyers will only pay for goods once they arrive, removing the need for buyer-seller trust.
Trustless Exchange enables any ecommerce platform, such as eBay or Alibaba, to bring back customer trust by eliminating angry buyers who purchase a good that never arrives. Currently, buyers on eBay have no way of knowing if the product they ordered will ever arrive. Once they pay, they are at the will of the seller who may choose not to ship the package. A simple Google search for ‘purchased packages not arriving through eBay’ demonstrates this issue.
Trustless Exchange eliminates such cases by linking with the APIs of the four major shipping providers—UPS, USPS, DHL, and FedEx. When the buyer pays, the funds are moved into an escrow account which no one, not even Pavilion.io, has complete control over. Once the package tracking number verifies its arrival, buyer funds are released from escrow to the seller using a two-of-three multi-signature transaction.
Jamie and I started Pavilion.io at the end of our junior year of high school—six months ago. For a little over a year before that, we ran a small hedge fund, known as Lionfin Capital. After doing extremely well in the stock market by shorting the VIX via leveraged put options, we decided that we wanted to find something more interesting to occupy our time.
On March 1st, we took a trip down to the New York City Bitcoin Center and immediately knew that Bitcoin was where all of the up-and-coming figures in finance existed. We shut down the hedge fund and dove right into Bitcoin. We tinkered around with the idea of Bitcoin as a currency for a few months until we realized that the underlying technology is of greater value.
We started researching the possible uses for smart protocols and, soon enough, we had started our first company, Pavilion.io.
As the CMO, I have a long list of small improvements to our strategy. As far as our overall promotion strategy goes, our plan is pretty simple: We are going to target ecommerce platforms with buyer-seller disconnect. I am hoping that getting these platforms on board will increase their popularity amongst online shoppers, possibly causing some of the larger fish to notice our product.
We are also focusing on companies that are sympathetic to Bitcoin-related technologies, such as Overstock, who would definitely help pull us into the spotlight. As far as marketing goes, I have a fairly tight budget to work with for the time being. Therefore, I am largely focused on Twitter and other social media outlets, in addition to working on press coverage.
Overall, the market is fairly wide open. There are no other companies who are working on creating an automated escrow mechanism that links with shipping APIs. One company, SmartContract, is working on developing other uses for smart contracts, but are not, at least for the time being, focusing on changing the escrow process the way we are at Pavilion.io. Escrow.com is the dominant third-party escrow site and is the company that sites such as AutoTrader and eBay recommend to their users. Last year, Escrow.com processed a billion dollars in transactions. However, we don’t view Escrow.com as a competitor because they are providing the centralized, expensive and third-party solution we are replacing.
As I mentioned before, we are planning on targeting companies who, as a whole, would benefit in terms of customer satisfaction from using our APIs. Our revenue model is a white label subscription-based one in which companies pay .009 percent of monthly transaction volume for both APIs.
Right now, we are raising $500,000. The funds we are raising will cover rent, food and development costs. Today, we are especially seeking a front-end developer to improve the look and feel of the website.
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HEADQUARTERS: Sunnyvale, California
FOUNDED: July, 2014
INVESTORS: Plug & Play Tech Center