Brisbane-based mobile payment startup Tappr is currently conducting its pilot program for flagship product “Juvo” ahead of its planned October release.
“We’ve got the hardware, the card reader, that allows fully secure pin transactions,” Chief Operations Officer Ben Lawton said. “And we’ve got the software application on the smartphone or tablet, which incorporates business tools, reporting, analytics, and more”.
“Our big picture is an ecosystem from Tappr; this is the merchant side, but we’re looking down the track to cater to the consumer side. So building on Juvo app and coming up with consumer side that will help interact with merchant side.”
Tappr’s Senior Marketing Coordinator Lauren Borger hopes the technology, which turns merchant smartphones and tablets into Mobile Points of Sale (MPOS) and card readers, will simplify operating procedures for smaller businesses.
“It really streamlines the process of taking payments for small businesses that normally wouldn’t have the opportunity to take payments,” Borger says. “When you’re looking at market holders or tradespeople that are mobile, they normally wouldn’t have access to the sort of tools that we’ll be providing through the application and card reader.
“So it’s really lowering the barriers for people that have their own business and access to the big business tools that we’ve provided in the back end of the application,” she says.
On how the technology differs from current mobile payment systems, Lawton says that while other solutions offer the card acceptance, “it is traditionally quite difficult for micro or small businesses to start accepting cards.”
“A lot of the tools we’re trying to build in are usually reserved for bigger enterprises,” Lawton says. “Making [Juvo] really affordable for people to understand not only their products, or what’s doing well, when it’s doing well, etc, but understand customer trends as well.”
“So building in the big data analytics to give them a really good understanding of ‘how do I improve my business?’, not just ‘how do I run my business and accept it for what it is?’.”
The company has been developing Juvo for eighteen months and will have raised over two million dollars by Juvo’s launch, according to Lawton, who said that both the $400,000 pre-seed funding and the remaining seed funding came from private investors. Initial development included trips to Hong Kong to research the Octopus Card.
Lawton lists Australia tough regulatory requirements as an initial hurdle, notably enabling compliant, secure transaction hardware.
“In the early stages we had to do a lot of research into payment trends in Australia,” Lawton says, listing “what type of payment acceptance we were going to incorporate” as a hurdle.
“Once we understood what Australian consumers like to pay with, we built a merchant facility that they can use without having to change habits.”
Tappr hopes to launch its follow-up app, the consumer-minded virtual wallet Nero, sometime in 2015.
“We want that interaction between the merchant side of Juvo and consumer side of Nero,” Lawton said. “So customer profiles can be created, the merchant can really start being able to see what customers buy what when they want it and everything.
“You can start rewarding those customers for return business, start finding out ways to get them back, so on,” he said.
Finally, Borger addresses Australia’s current business ecosystem, expressing enthusiasm that Tappr’s growth mirrors a rise in startups nationally.
“Just generally people being empowered to chase destiny,” Borger says. “Whether it’s something large scale, like we’re doing or it’s the small business owners we’re going to service.”