For abounding peer-to-peer acquittal apps, the way to accelerate money to added users is simple — access the recipient’s name or buzz cardinal and the bulk of money and hit send. But what if you appetite to accelerate money to say, your bartender or a bounded bell-ringer at the farmers market, and neither of you needs to apperceive capacity about the other?
That’s the apriorism abaft Mezu, a new blazon of payments app that is ablution today to “let bodies accord and get money afterwards administration any claimed information.” The app is accessible to download for chargeless on both iOS and Android. The aggregation additionally appear today that it has aloft a $10 actor round, led by Pittsburgh’s Draper Triangle Ventures. JumpStart Inc., Draper Associates, the Ohio Innovation Fund, and North Coast Angel Fund additionally participated.
Headquartered in Cleveland, Mezu currently has 25 employees. The aggregation was cofounded by Yuval Brisker and Pedro Silva. Brisker, who additionally serves as Mezu’s CEO, ahead cofounded TOA Technologies, which was acquired by Oracle for an bearding bulk in 2014.
Brisker told VentureBeat in a buzz annual that he got the abstraction for Mezu while traveling and award himself in situations area he capital to tip the parking accessory or auberge attendant but didn’t accept any cash.
“I accomplished the acquittal apps that were in the bazaar didn’t absolutely abode the charge to absolutely accept banknote — they were added affiliated to what I would alarm a basic check, acceptation you’re sending money to accession you know,” Brisker said. “But in fact banknote itself is this breakable that bodies accord to anniversary other, whether they apperceive anniversary added or don’t apperceive anniversary other.”
So how does a Mezu transaction work?
In the Mezu app, the user enters the bulk of money they appetite to accord in that specific transaction. Again Mezu generates a one-time, unique, four-digit cipher that the giver shows to the almsman of the transaction. The almsman again enters that cipher into their Mezu app to get the money. The giver can additionally set the cipher to expire afterwards a assertive bulk of time. The giver doesn’t accept any acquaintance advice about the almsman already they use the cipher — aloof a notification that “you paid $5.”
As with added peer-to-peer acquittal apps, Mezu users can still actualize a acquaintance annual to accelerate money to bodies they apperceive by name. But Mezu doesn’t accept a amusing augment basic like Venmo, which shows added users who that being has beatific money to and for what purposes — article that has resulted in a abnormality accepted as “Venmo stalking.”
Users can accompany their Mezu annual to a coffer account, debit, or acclaim agenda to abjure or bead money. They are answerable a 3 percent fee on anniversary acclaim agenda transaction, and a 1.5 percent fee if they baddest the “Fast Withdraw” option, which sends money to their coffer annual that day. For users who don’t accept a coffer account, Mezu additionally advertises the adeptness to get paid and abundance money in a FDIC-insured basic account.
In accession to Venmo, Mezu will additionally face antagonism from Zelle, a peer-to-peer acquittal app backed by some of the better banks in the U.S., and of advance Venmo ancestor aggregation PayPal, which currently counts 237 actor alive accounts.
The primary use case for Mezu is bodies sending banknote to added individuals, but Brisker says that the aggregation is additionally attractive to accomplice with businesses, nonprofits, and added organizations to accomplish it easier for bodies to donate. For example, Mezu was a sponsor of the Los Angeles Pride anniversary this accomplished weekend, auspicious bodies to accord to LA Pride on the Mezu app. In this case, businesses can actualize a bead cipher that users accelerate money to.
“That way, it could actual abundant be an actuation donation — bodies could accord during the anniversary and during the parade,” Brisker said.
The success of Mezu will depend not aloof on consumers downloading the app, but additionally on account industry workers. While Mezu offers account industry workers added ascendancy over their tips, it charcoal to be apparent how business owners ability feel about their workers application the app. A restaurant buyer who pools workers’ tips, for instance, ability not be too agog on Mezu.
In speaking with VentureBeat, Brisker said he believes that the time is accomplished for Mezu to access the market, abnormally afterward customer blowback from the Cambridge Analytica-Facebook scandal.
“There’s hunger out there, for a new array of bearing of apps … that absolutely focus on authoritative abiding people’s advice is protected,” Brisker said.
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