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Minno Rebrands As BuySimple, Partners With SoundCloud, Raises $700K For Micropayments

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Online payment methods are old and in the way. Sure, whether or not the world will have a generally-agreed-upon payment system is up for debate, but it seems that a new era of micropayments is here — hopefully to stay. With the political and regulatory inertia around bank and credit card-related payment tools, there is room for a third party without these hangups to bring a new perspective to micropayments. Minno, a startup that offers a simple, embeddable payment solution, is today announcing that it has changed its name to “BuySimple”. Its new name is appropriate given its objective, and gets rid of the small-fish-big-pond connotations that came with the name “Minno”. What’s more, BuySimple has partnered with SoundCloud and raised $700K. Not bad for a day’s work.

Why? Minno, now BuySimple, is in the process of creating a tool that will be as simple and easy to use as cash-money-flow currency. In order to accomplish this, the startup has to remove those pesky obstacles that exist between the buyer and the seller. BuySimple uses Facebook Connect to do so (other OpenID providers are on their way), and thankfully doesn’t require a bank or credit card to be tied to the account. What’s more, the payment widget is just a button. A simple line of JavaScript. The tool isn’t targeting for real-world scenarios or point-of-service, like NFC, and there are no minimum fees or 30 percent transfer fees.

BuySimple was founded by two ex-Googlers, Calvin Young and Noah Ready-Campbell, who left the search giant to pursue a micropayment solution 2.0. They’ve built BuySimple mainly to target the purchasing of online works like subscriptions, single articles, media and books. And with the nature of the startup’s payment tool, it finds itself in a different market than NFC and credit and debit payments, so there isn’t the need for it to be heavy on the infrastructure.

That being said, any payment system floats based on security. Security is the key. Ready-Campbell has said that security is BuySimple’s top concern, and all sensitive financial data actually is transferred on BuySimple’s website. And the button/widget uses iFrames and other measures to protect against XSS, CSRF and other attacks.

The BuySimple team is betting that, just because there is a public perception that micropayment methods have stumbled in the past, there has still been a rise in mobile apps and particularly, in-app payments, and social games, and so the world may well be ready for a general micropayments solution. As far as I know, W3C tried and failed at this game years ago — as has IBM — but there’s no doubt that the landscape has changed.

What else helps? Users don’t have to create accounts with BuySimple, and they’re given $2 in credit to make the first few payments for free to test it out. If the user likes what he or she sees, they can fund future payments with a credit card. Integration with merchant sites is similarly straightforward, and the service is completely free to qualifying partners while BuySimple is in beta.

BuySimple is actively seeking partnerships, and the company says it has received over 100 applications from sites already. It is also announcing its largest partnership to date, with SoundCloud, the social music sharing service. Young and Ready-Campbell created a mashup of BuySimple and SoundCloud to help musicians sell tracks across the Web. SoundCloud joins Hacker Monthly and FutureMe as BuySimple partners.

In addition, BuySimple announced today that it has raised $700K in seed funding from investors including GRP, founder of Shopzilla and Gripe, Farhad Mohit, and Milo founder Jack Abraham. As my colleague Devin Coldewey pointed out in a post on Minno last month, banks, credit card companies, PayPal, and many more, have plenty of incentive to be spending big money on creating a new micropayment system, so BuySimple’s funding is great news for the “little guy”.

At the time of Devin’s post, BuySimple was not yet funded, nor had it yet forged any significant partnerships. Obviously, even though BuySimple is offering a far simpler user experience than any micropayment system in recent memory, it’s tough to hold a candle to the big players (when they get their act together) without funding and strategic, biz-developing partnerships. On that front, BuySimple appears to be making headway. And it’s got more mainstream appeal than Bitcoin. Sorry, my techie friends, but it’s true.