More people leaving Google Wallet means more founders for mobile payments startups!
Jonathan Wall, a founding engineer on Google Wallet, and Marc Freed-Finnegan, its product lead, are already heads down on their next venture Tappmo after having their last day at Google on March 5. They’re not saying too much about what it is aside from saying it’s about revolutionizing offline payments. (No surprise there.)
“We think the next few years will bring groundbreaking developments in mobile commerce and we are excited to dive in with our new venture,” Freed-Finnegan says.
Google Wallet has seen a wave of departures over the last month or so and the company may need to rethink its strategy. There are so many constituencies that Google needs to have on its side to win.
But everyone including the carriers, retailers, Google, the banks and PayPal wants control. And nobody — especially the carriers — really wants to give up power. Verizon has even actively blocked the Google Wallet on the handsets it sells. After losing so much of their direct relationship with customers over the past few years with the advent of the iPhone and Android, carriers want to hold onto what may be their last lucrative tie with consumers beyond their monthly bills.
So you have Google Wallet, which has the support of one relatively weaker carrier with Sprint. Then you have the major carriers like AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile trying to collaborate on their own payments solution Isis. Then there’s PayPal, which is trying to do cloud-based payments and is shying away from NFC. Then the big-box retailers like Walmart and Target are collaborating on yet another solution. Then there are startups like Square, Dwolla and more.
It’s a mess, really. So it will be curious to see if a few Google Wallet insiders can offer an interesting solution to a very tangled space.