Messaging apps have become commonplace for a lot of consumers. But for businesses, many of these apps lack the ability to actually complete sales and get paid without leaving the conversation. That’s where SellApp comes in.
The company aims to provide a solution that actually works for businesses and their customers alike. Read more about the offering and the business behind it in this week’s Small Business Spotlight.
What the Business Does
Offers a commerce messaging platform with instant mobile payments.
Founder and CEO Keith White told Small Business Trends, “Think WhatsApp and PayPal together or WhatsApp and Venmo.”
Helping businesses connect with customers and get paid.
White says, “Connecting businesses and customers by instant text messaging and enabling instant debit or credit card payment transactions to happen right in the chat window.”
How the Business Got Started
After connecting with clients via mobile chat apps.
White explains, “For the 2016 Rio Olympics I setup a VIP hospitality service called RioVIPPass to help foreigners going to Rio for the Games that needed accommodations, transportation, tours, security and getting tickets. We noticed that 80 percent of the first contact came by email and 20 percent by phone calls. Negotiations of the clients needs mostly took place by email. And payment were sent by PayPal. As our clients got closer to coming to Rio for the Games, we started moving them over to WhatsApp for communications and once they were on the ground in Rio the communications was 100 percent WhatsApp. What started happening next, was clients started asking for new things, like opening tickets, etc. All the back and forth negotiations, pricing, etc. happened over WhatsApp. This happen with several clients. We even had a CEO from India request a private jet to fly to the Iguazu Falls on the border of Brazil and Argentina for two days. The entire negotiations including photos and video of different jet options all got done over 12 hours by text messaging. The one common problem or pain-point that all our clients had was when it came time to pay. We had to send them outside of WhatsApp to perform a traditional payment the old-fashion way (i.e., PayPal, ATM, bank wire, meet in person) this made no sense in today’s digital and mobile payments world. Why have instant messaging and traditional payment?”
Winning an award from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Electronic Transaction Association.
The award came when White was working on his first mobile payment platform and app solution. He created a mobile payment app prototype to enable the unbanked participation in mobile e-commerce shopping and payments. This led to him being awarded the 2013 E-Innovator Award from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Electronic Transaction Association.
White adds, “That was a big deal.”
Betting on bringing a new tech solution into a big market.
White says, “Failing is not in my DNA. We just kept going and going until we got it right. End result is we developed a business chat solution that takes text messaging to the next level.”
Find the best developers, and make them prove themselves.
White explains, “Developers will tell you they can do everything, they want the job of course, but it’s like looking for a needle in haystack to find the right talent. Don’t tell me, show me.”
How They’d Spend an Extra $100,000
Growing the team.
White says, “I would put 80 percent on hiring the best software developers or team I could find for the best price.”
“Move fast and break things.” -Mark Zukerberg
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Images: SellApp; Top Image: Jitesh Vadodariya – Web Lead, Nirav Javia – friend of company, Dipali Buddhadev – Android Lead, Sachin Gohel – Web Developer, Mohit Joshi – UI Designer, Keith White – Founder & CEO of SellApp, Bhavik Talpada – iOS Developer, Rohit Tank – iOS Developer; Second Image: Keith White