Online Payments Startup WePay Grows Revenue By Ten-Fold In 2011; Will Launch Mobile Apps This Year

Online payments platform and PayPal competitor WePay is announcing its growth data for 2011, and revealing details on the startup’s product strategy for 2012. In case you aren’t familiar, WePay is a Y Combinator backed startup that launched in 2009 to take the hassle out of group paying. Unlike some of its competitors, the service was able to dead simple way to collect, manage and spend money for groups.

On WePay, you can create a unique, FDIC insured account for each group. While the account is still associated with your name, but you can keep each group account totally separate from your personal transactions. Group money can essentially be kept separate from any individual accounts you may have. You can also designate specific individuals to have control over accounts.

But as co-founder Bill Clerico¬†tells me, last year the payments platform evolved into a broader offering, allowing any merchant or user a simple way to accept payments beyond just the group model. “We believe the benefit of using WePay is around simplicity of user experience and great customer service,” says Clerico. He explains that users can sign up with Facebook Connect, and WePay underwrites the risk of these individuals accepting payment by looking at their online presence, and social connections to evaluate risk.

Last year, the startup, which is processing several million dollars in payment volume per month, started listening to customer feedback and launched a number of new products to add to the platform, including WePay Stores. The feature lets any site integrate a payments storefront by inserting an embed code. WePay also launched an API as well.

The company grew nearly ten times in revenue in 2011, and doubled headcount with 20 new employees (the company plans to double employees again this year). WePay also grew revenue generated by its API by 15x in 2011. Partners like GoFundMe, which replaced PayPal with WePay as its primary payment platform, are helping fuel this growth, says the startup.

Social media is a big driver for WePay. About half of all WePay payments were initiated through social media. More than 25,000 people and organizations have collected donations and over 250,000 invoices have been paid through WePay in 2011. And almost $800,000 was collected using WePay from 806 Occupy Wall Street-related accounts.

WePay says that it exited 2011 at a multi-million dollar revenue run rate and a compounded monthly growth rate of 30 percent since launch.

As for what’s next, Clerico says that mobile is an area where WePay has not yet explored and will launch mobile apps in the coming year. And WePay, which has raises $7.5 million in funding, could be on track for raising another round. Clerico tells us that much of the earlier investment in the company is still in the bank, but the company may raise new funds for expansion and growth purposes.