The whole area of making payments as a group of people, whether it be for joint gift purchases (weddings), or even simple things like housemates paying bills etc. has been an area several startups have tried to tackle.
ShareAGift in the UK focuses on joint gift purchases, but is more an affiliate gift sales model. In the US there is WePay and PayDivvy, both of which err on the side of being deposit account providers. WePay has moved to being a B2B play, trying to woo small merchants away from PayPal. In France there is Leetchi and FriendFund in Berlin. Many have substantial backing from VCs.
Now, Payumi in the UK is poised to come out of public beta and hopes to cover all the ‘group payment’ bases and has sealed a £150,000 ($186,000) round of seed funding taking its total seed funding to £250,000.
Investors include Nick Hynes, CEO of Somo Mobile Marketing, Warren Cowan, Alicia Levy and Andreas Pouros, the founders of Greenlight Marketing, Emma Wilson and Mike Teasdale, the founders of Harvest Digital, Paul Cooper, Partner at Clarity Capital Partners and Patricia Burnett, former Managing Director of The White Company. The latest round adds to the £100,000 initially invested by Co-founder and former i-level CEO Stephen Rust.
Interestingly all these Angels utilized the UK’s new Seed Enterprise Investment Scheme (SEIS) tax policy framework which is brand new as of a couple of months ago. SEIS could well set off a “Summer of Love” for startups in the UK if it manages to take off.
It is integrated with Facebook and all payments on the site are handled via PayPal. It’s free for individual payments of up to £20 and charges a small flat fee of between 50p and £2 for payments over £20. The person collecting can choose whether to absorb these as part of the total being collected or pass the fee onto their friends.
The Hoxton Square / Tech City / Silicon Roundabout / East London (pick your favoured phrase) based startup was founded by founded last summer by Khurram Farooq, Moin Maniar and Stephen Rust, Payumi has been in public beta but launches fully next month.