After some years of languishing, BillMonk’s service and user base will be taken over by a young Singapore startup, BillPin, which provides a similar bill-splitting service.
Just over six months old, BillPin pitches itself as a “Mint for groups” and offers a way for people to track how much money they owe each other. It has plenty of competitors in the bill-splitting space, including Splitwise, Billsup, Spotme, Divvyit, Splitmybill.ie; scooping up BillMonk’s user base might provide it a firm leg up in the fight for user acquisition.
BillMonk was founded in 2005 and was acquired by Indian mobile money provider Obopay in 2007. It’s one of the older players in the space, and seems to have suffered from neglect for a few years.
BillPin’s co-founder, Darius Cheung (whose previous startup, tenCube WaveSecure, was acquired by McAfee in 2010), acknowledged the older firm’s state of neglect. “Not much improvement was added to BillMonk at all over the past seven years, and in fact BillMonk has suffered significant down time in the last six months or so,” he said.
Of the migration service BillPin created, he said: “It was launched to catch BillMonk users who were frustrated with its downtime, but we didn’t know then we were going to inherit its entire user base.”
Still, BillMonk continued to add users over its lifetime, and steadily at that, he said. As a result, bringing BillMonk’s user base onboard will give BillPin “easily 50 times” more users.
He wouldn’t say how many that is, but according to reports, BillPin has a small base of 5,000 or so users.
He made it clear that this move was an acquisition of the larger service’s user base, but none of BillMonk’s engineers will come over from Obopay.
BillPin has five employees in Singapore and one in India. It’s bootstrapped so far, but Cheung is currently hoping to raise an angel round.
Obopay started in 2005, and provides technology to corporate clients like Nokia and Societe Generale, and telcos like Warid Telecom in Uganda to allow them to offer their own branded mobile money-transfer services.
It was started in Bangalore, and now has its headquarters in Redwood City, Calif. It has Bangalore and Mumbai offices.