Ones To Watch: Strikepay aim for unicorn status

Ones to Watch | Fri 7 Oct | Author – Business & Finance
Pictured (L–R): Charles Dowd and Oli Cavanagh, founders of Strikepay:
Photo: Fergal Phillips

Strikepay aims to solve the issue presented by the decline of cash. The digitisation of payments has reduced the need for cash in recent years, a fact which was exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. The Irish fintech company are hoping to reach unicorn status in the coming years while solving the cash issue facing cash-dependent businesses and people.


What is Strikepay? 

Strikepay is an Irish FinTech start-up that found product-market fit in 2021 with a new portable payments technology. In 2020 people stopped paying with cash, creating a problem for millions of businesses and people who want to get paid. Strikepay aims to fix this.

Strikepay has developed, launched and filed global patent protection for an innovative payment technology that is already being used by over 6,000 customers to make payments, without having to buy a traditional payment terminal.

Strikepay created the world’s first ‘instant payment terminal’, which never needs to be charged and can be on your existing phone with no other hardware required.

Having already become leader in the Irish market, Strikepay aims to provide its technology to 60 million people in the UK and USA in the next 2 years. The process that allows scalability to that many people in a short space of time is the area covered by Strikepay’s patent filing. 

Strategy

With the demise of cash, the founders saw that traditional payment players had no solution for paying someone else without a terminal or having to download an app. They chose a combination of NFC and QR code technologies combined with an in-house platform that allowed single-click instant payments and withdrawals.

This would be a timely solution, and the rapid growth of Strikepay in a short time has validated this, along with the business model of charging a low monthly fee and a per transaction fee which is normally covered by the person making the payment. This again was a first.

With this solution Strikepay immediately solved payments issues in:

  1. Tipping
  2. Donations
  3. Person to Person payments

Tipping and in-person donations had declined to the point that staff and charities were practically giving up. Strikepay fixed both of these overnight, with its Tap to Tip and Tap to Donate technology resulting in 100% increase in tips and a large jump in donations.

The 3rd area, Person-to-Person payments, is where Strikepay has assisted people in Ireland and the UK who were struggling to get paid for jobs but were reluctant to buy a traditional, plugged-in terminal.

Strikepay makes it easier for everyone to get paid, including builders, therapists, sports clubs and coaches, babysitters, cleaners, delivery drivers, taxi drivers, and tradespeople.

Innovation

Prior to Strikepay, the only alternatives for people to send money to each other were via clunky terminals (such as SumUp etc.) or payment platforms such as Revolut. Strikepay doesn’t require both parties to have an account or a terminal.

Strikepay gives everyone with a phone the ability to Scan or Tap to Pay anyone else with a single click and no setup required.

Results

Founded by FinTech entrepreneurs with previous experience building financially regulated companies, the first version of Strikepay was live and generating revenue within 3 months, fixing a critical need for people who needed to receive contactless payments.

Fast forward 18 months from launch, Strikepay is the leading tipping provider in Ireland; with the acquisition of a UK competitor (Gratsi) and a base in the USA, the company is launching with large partners and hospitality groups around the world.

Customer Impact

Strikepay created a new market while helping millions of people. These are people whose incomes had dropped due to the demise of cash. All of the IP/technology is wholly owned by Strikepay and built in-house, with global patent protection pending.

Strikepay’s TapToDonate® technology is allowing people to donate in-person in over 3,000 locations across Ireland, working in partnership with major CSR programs with: CIRCLE K, ALDI, SPAR, SuperValu,  Virgin Media and more, including the recent Cannonball Run in aid of The Hope Foundation. 

People around Ireland could scan any of the 200 supercars with their phone to donate to the charity with a single click using Strikepay’s technology.

Who is behind Strikepay? 

Oli got the idea when he couldn’t tip a home delivery service that had popped up early on in COVID to deliver drinks to homes and offices. The delivery people said got zero tips since people didn’t carry cash anymore. He then noted another 10 or so occasions over the next month where he wanted to pay someone and couldn’t. He felt this was a wide-reaching problem that none of the big payment providers was addressing.

He met with Charles Dowd who is a payments technology expert to see if it was possible to provide a new solution to fix this and help people accept contactless payments or tips, and the rest is history. They built the first version in-house and it was working and revenue generating within 3 months.

How is Strikepay funded? 

Oli and cofounder Charles funded the initial phase through to trials, then raised pre-seed funding based on the successful trials from a number of high net worth Irish investors they reached out to directly. 

They then approached Eoin Fitzgerald, Fintech development advistor at Enterprise Ireland who championed Strikepay internally for HPSE (High Potential StartUp) funding, which they were awarded. Since then they raised additional funding through a SAFE (Simple Agreement for Future Equity)  Note, which was the first one to be executed in Ireland.

SAFE Notes are popular instruments used by high-growth Siicon Valley tech startups because they are fast to execute and allow founders to roll close, i.e. they can use the funding and continue as each investor comes in one by one, rather than wait out a lenghty process over 6-9 months with no funds to grow while they wait for the round to close. It helps companies scale quickly.

What are your future plans? 

  • Strikepay’s partnership with a UK platform sees it rolling out in 6,000 new locations per month in the UK from this week. 
  • Strikepay’s partnership with a food delivery platform will increase incomes over 100,000 delivery drivers in Q4 2022.
  • Strikepay’s partnership with a booking platform will increase incomes over 150,000 new users in 2023.
  • Strikepay should break even by end calendar year 2022.
  • Strikepay aims to be in 32 countries by the end of 2023 through existing partners, and are one of Enterprise Ireland’s fastest growing HPSUs (High Potential Startups).

Strikepay is on a mission to ensure that everyone in the world can accept cashless payments, and the founders can see a path towards ‘unicorn’ status in the next 3 years if adoption continues at the current rate of growth.


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