Featured Startup Pitch: WhizKard has built a smartphone-and-processor agnostic m-commerce platform with a focus on ease-of-use for merchants and consumers
Founders: Sam Vahie, Harsh Muthal, Jay Singh
Headquarters: Dallas, Texas and Chicago
Year Founded: 2012
Company Overview: WhizKard is a mobile commerce platform that aspires to set the industry standard as it is smartphone-agnostic, card processor-agnostic and integrates with 90 percent of POS solutions.
# # #
To make our platform’s adoption frictionless and worry-free, WhizKard requires no new equipment installation at the merchant’s locations and gives the consumers a payment app that has higher security than traditional card swipes.
To the merchants that participate in our platform, we provide efficient loyalty programs, promotions and analytics.
For the consumers who sign up, we give them a free and easy-to-use mobile wallet app that carries multiple debit and credit cards for payments, simplifies rewards and offers management, and centralizes receipt storage.
Sam comes from almost two decades of consulting for Fortune 500 companies and has often focused on retail clients.
While helping formulate strategy with management at some big box and mid-sized merchants, he was stuck by the lack of sophistication in their efforts to attract, understand and retain customers. The offers were launched with a lot of guesswork, customer analytics for brick and mortar were not up to par, and loyalty programs were underused.
He saw m-commerce as a bridge between merchants and their customers. Or, as he puts it in a more down-to-earth manner: “Receiving payments from a smartphone is rather cool, but the real value for the merchant is in being able to communicate rewards and offers that are relevant to their customers.”
After working hard on a solution for six months with a software team that had recently exited a finance product, the WhizKard platform has become a very low-cost mobile platform that can be deployed in a very short amount of time.
How We Differentiate From the Competition
While everyone sees the benefits of a mobile commerce platform, the mobile payment market is a fragmented market without a clear leader today.
Big players like Google Wallet, consortiums such as Isis (AT&T, Verizon, and T-Mobile) and well-funded startups such as Square and LevelUp are trying to create an industry standard in their own ways.
But the problem is that all current solutions require expensive equipment installation, prefer certain smartphones, mostly work with certain technologies (definitely not with each other) and try to make the merchant captive to a new processor. This has caused a lack of adoption of mobile commerce in the U.S.
WhizKard is the first one to remove this equipment headache and is also smartphone agnostic and card processor agnostic. Plus it provides higher security in mobile payments than plastic card swipes.
We are also, unlike most of our competition, very focused on the consumer and their convenience. Our mobile wallet app has one goal: To simplify their lives.
WhizKard is going live with five small merchants in the Chicago area to demonstrate its solution.
The business strategy, though, is to reach the small merchant indirectly through their credit card processors. That way we are also helping processors differentiate themselves in a commoditized market.
As for mid-sized merchants and big boxes, WhizKard is in direct talks for deploying their solutions.
Outside the U.S., WhizKard is in the process of selecting licensed resellers in countries like India and UAE, and generally seeking to sell its licenses in South East Asia, Middle East and Euro-zone regions.
Only six percent of all two trillion dollar-plus banking transactions in the U.S. were done on a mobile platform last year.
In emerging markets outside the U.S., many consumers and merchants will not face the traditional developed-world barriers to mobile commerce as there is no widespread legacy. Similar to many people experiencing Internet through their mobile device in countries like India, they will experience banking for the first time through their phone and totally bypass the plastic card.
WhizKard generates its revenues from merchants that pay low monthly fees for participating in offers and rewards programs. For international licenses, it charges the local reseller a flat fees plus revenue share.
Because of our disruptive ability to work as a software-only player in this hardware-software industry, we can scale up while increasing margins.
Since our founding last year, we have been self-funded, and now are looking for our first round of investment. We are also looking for sales partners.
WhizKard – www.whizkard.com