Startups

Bravo’s App Makes It Easy To Tip When You Don’t Have Cash

Comment

Image Credits:

Though the majority of today’s payment transactions are digital – credit card swipes, online bill pay, tap-and-pay at point of sale, etc. – there are still a few places where cash has yet to die out. You still often need a handful of small bills to tip service professionals like valets, baristas, the great band at your local bar, and more. Taking these sorts of small payments digital is a challenge that Bravo aims to solve with its iOS and Android applications for simple, proximity-based payments.

The company, which presented on stage at TechCrunch Disrupt SF this afternoon after being selected as the “wildcard” winner through audience voting, was founded last year in Phoenix by husband and wife team, Dr. Hector Rodriguez and Maria Luna.

Dr. Rodriguez, whose background is in gastroenterology, originally came up with the idea for Bravo after experiencing the problem firsthand.

“Two years ago we were hiking in Southern Utah,” he explains. “And we had no cash to tip our hiking guide.” He realized that there were actually a number of situations where people are expected to tip with cash, but fewer people today carry bills in their wallet thanks to the growth of digital transactions.

Luna, meanwhile, has a marketing and administration background and MBA from the University of Texas in Austin. Together, the two of them have launched a number of startup businesses in the medical field, including a pathology lab, surgical center, medical offices, and an anesthesia company. But they have yet to work in the technology sector.

With Bravo, which was built with the help of a local development team, the idea is to offer service professionals and others with an easy way to accept payments from mobile consumers through a mobile application that doesn’t require users to exchange personal information like their phone number or email.

[tc_aol_on code=”519097602″]

Instead, when a consumer launches the app, Bravo taps into the smartphone’s GPS to identify which Bravo pros are nearby and able to be tipped using the app. (The pros can turn on or off their visibility in their dashboard, allowing them to only be found when they’re ready to transact.)

After signing up for the app and scanning their credit or debit card as the payment source, you can launch the app at any time to see which service pros are nearby and able to be tipped. After tapping on the name you want, you can then tap on one of a few pre-filled payment amounts or you can enter your own. The following screen lets you optionally add a rating and comment, if desired.

Those who accept tips through Bravo provide their banking information in the app, which allows the payments they receive to go directly to their account. (Unlike Venmo, you don’t have to “cash out” later on.) The speed with which payments are deposited in a user’s account depends on the credit or debit card used and other conditions. But many payments arrive within a day, while others like American Express-based payments, take a few days, typically.

However, the actual payment processing is handled by Braintree on the backend. That means sensitive data isn’t stored in the app or on Bravo’s own servers, for security purposes.

In addition to finding service professionals to pay via proximity, Bravo also supports QR codes and search, in the case you want to send a payment to a company located further away.

The company generates revenue by taking a modest 2 percent transaction fee on all payments processed through its service.

Since its launch in December of last year, Bravo has grown through word-of-mouth in the Phoenix area and today has thousands of monthly active users. It also now has 160 valet stations using Bravo in the area, each with around three employees, on average. In addition to valets, Bravo found that others including coffee shop baristas, bands, and even churches have begun to adopt the service – the latter, as an alternative to the traditional tithing process.

The company is also now working with a handful of charitable organizations, who are using Bravo to accept cashless donations, including the Alice Cooper Solid Rock Foundation; One Vision, One World; the Shadows Foundation; and the Phoenix Children’s Hospital.

Going forward, the bootstrapped team of three hopes to continue to expand Bravo, moving away from being solely focused on tipping to also allow for peer-to-peer payments and more.

Bravo is currently available for download on both iOS and Android devices.

More TechCrunch

The U.K.’s self-proclaimed “world-leading” regulations for self-driving cars are now official, after the Automated Vehicles (AV) Act received royal assent — the final rubber stamp any legislation must go through…

UK’s autonomous vehicle legislation becomes law, paving the way for first driverless cars by 2026

ChatGPT, OpenAI’s text-generating AI chatbot, has taken the world by storm. What started as a tool to hyper-charge productivity through writing essays and code with short text prompts has evolved…

ChatGPT: Everything you need to know about the AI-powered chatbot

SoLo Funds CEO Travis Holoway: “Regulators seem driven by press releases when they should be motivated by true consumer protection and empowering equitable solutions.”

Fintech lender Solo Funds is being sued again by the government over its lending practices

Hard tech startups generate a lot of buzz, but there’s a growing cohort of companies building digital tools squarely focused on making hard tech development faster, more efficient, and —…

Rollup wants to be the hardware engineer’s workhorse

TechCrunch Disrupt 2024 is not just about groundbreaking innovations, insightful panels, and visionary speakers — it’s also about listening to YOU, the audience, and what you feel is top of…

Disrupt Audience Choice vote closes Friday

Google says the new SDK would help Google expand on its core mission of connecting the right audience to the right content at the right time.

Google is launching a new Android feature to drive users back into their installed apps

Jolla has taken the official wraps off the first version of its personal server-based AI assistant in the making. The reborn startup is building a privacy-focused AI device — aka…

Jolla debuts privacy-focused AI hardware

OpenAI is removing one of the voices used by ChatGPT after users found that it sounded similar to Scarlett Johansson, the company announced on Monday. The voice, called Sky, is…

OpenAI to remove ChatGPT’s Scarlett Johansson-like voice

The ChatGPT mobile app’s net revenue first jumped 22% on the day of the GPT-4o launch and continued to grow in the following days.

ChatGPT’s mobile app revenue saw its biggest spike yet following GPT-4o launch

Dating app maker Bumble has acquired Geneva, an online platform built around forming real-world groups and clubs. The company said that the deal is designed to help it expand its…

Bumble buys community building app Geneva to expand further into friendships

CyberArk — one of the army of larger security companies founded out of Israel — is acquiring Venafi, a specialist in machine identity, for $1.54 billion. 

CyberArk snaps up Venafi for $1.54B to ramp up in machine-to-machine security

Founder-market fit is one of the most crucial factors in a startup’s success, and operators (someone involved in the day-to-day operations of a startup) turned founders have an almost unfair advantage…

OpenseedVC, which backs operators in Africa and Europe starting their companies, reaches first close of $10M fund

A Singapore High Court has effectively approved Pine Labs’ request to shift its operations to India.

Pine Labs gets Singapore court approval to shift base to India

The AI Safety Institute, a U.K. body that aims to assess and address risks in AI platforms, has said it will open a second location in San Francisco. 

UK opens office in San Francisco to tackle AI risk

Companies are always looking for an edge, and searching for ways to encourage their employees to innovate. One way to do that is by running an internal hackathon around a…

Why companies are turning to internal hackathons

Featured Article

I’m rooting for Melinda French Gates to fix tech’s broken ‘brilliant jerk’ culture

Women in tech still face a shocking level of mistreatment at work. Melinda French Gates is one of the few working to change that.

1 day ago
I’m rooting for Melinda French Gates to fix tech’s  broken ‘brilliant jerk’ culture

Blue Origin has successfully completed its NS-25 mission, resuming crewed flights for the first time in nearly two years. The mission brought six tourist crew members to the edge of…

Blue Origin successfully launches its first crewed mission since 2022

Creative Artists Agency (CAA), one of the top entertainment and sports talent agencies, is hoping to be at the forefront of AI protection services for celebrities in Hollywood. With many…

Hollywood agency CAA aims to help stars manage their own AI likenesses

Expedia says Rathi Murthy and Sreenivas Rachamadugu, respectively its CTO and senior vice president of core services product & engineering, are no longer employed at the travel booking company. In…

Expedia says two execs dismissed after ‘violation of company policy’

Welcome back to TechCrunch’s Week in Review. This week had two major events from OpenAI and Google. OpenAI’s spring update event saw the reveal of its new model, GPT-4o, which…

OpenAI and Google lay out their competing AI visions

When Jeffrey Wang posted to X asking if anyone wanted to go in on an order of fancy-but-affordable office nap pods, he didn’t expect the post to go viral.

With AI startups booming, nap pods and Silicon Valley hustle culture are back

OpenAI’s Superalignment team, responsible for developing ways to govern and steer “superintelligent” AI systems, was promised 20% of the company’s compute resources, according to a person from that team. But…

OpenAI created a team to control ‘superintelligent’ AI — then let it wither, source says

A new crop of early-stage startups — along with some recent VC investments — illustrates a niche emerging in the autonomous vehicle technology sector. Unlike the companies bringing robotaxis to…

VCs and the military are fueling self-driving startups that don’t need roads

When the founders of Sagetap, Sahil Khanna and Kevin Hughes, started working at early-stage enterprise software startups, they were surprised to find that the companies they worked at were trying…

Deal Dive: Sagetap looks to bring enterprise software sales into the 21st century

Keeping up with an industry as fast-moving as AI is a tall order. So until an AI can do it for you, here’s a handy roundup of recent stories in the world…

This Week in AI: OpenAI moves away from safety

After Apple loosened its App Store guidelines to permit game emulators, the retro game emulator Delta — an app 10 years in the making — hit the top of the…

Adobe comes after indie game emulator Delta for copying its logo

Meta is once again taking on its competitors by developing a feature that borrows concepts from others — in this case, BeReal and Snapchat. The company is developing a feature…

Meta’s latest experiment borrows from BeReal’s and Snapchat’s core ideas

Welcome to Startups Weekly! We’ve been drowning in AI news this week, with Google’s I/O setting the pace. And Elon Musk rages against the machine.

Startups Weekly: It’s the dawning of the age of AI — plus,  Musk is raging against the machine

IndieBio’s Bay Area incubator is about to debut its 15th cohort of biotech startups. We took special note of a few, which were making some major, bordering on ludicrous, claims…

IndieBio’s SF incubator lineup is making some wild biotech promises

YouTube TV has announced that its multiview feature for watching four streams at once is now available on Android phones and tablets. The Android launch comes two months after YouTube…

YouTube TV’s ‘multiview’ feature is now available on Android phones and tablets