What is Stuypend?
Stuypend is a financial technology app that makes it easy for small businesses to save on payment processing. Its mobile-based payment system doesn't require migration and can be used alongside an existing Point of Sale.
How does Stuypend Work?
"Stuypend is like Venmo for Bed-Stuy. You just download the app and securely link a bank account. You can then send payments to local businesses by scanning a QR code during checkout. You can even give tips right from your phone!"
What were you doing before Stuypend?
“So, I was working in a sales role before that wasn’t really exciting when my brother started a company with one of his co-workers. That was a fintech company focused on the asset management industry. After they did some fundraising, I came on board to help and moved to London. However, I had an impossible time trying to get a visa as an entrepreneur and part-owner of the business, which made it difficult to stay involved with the company since I had to move back to the States.
Where did you get the idea for Stuypend?
"It was around the time that I came back that I started to think of the idea for Stuypend. I realized going into these small businesses in Brooklyn, where I live, that a lot of them didn’t take credit cards because of the costs associated. They may have ATMs for you to pull out cash, but a lot of times, those just looked shady — plus the fees to get cash could be crazy. I started speaking to merchants about why they were cash-only or why they minimums in order for customers to use their credit cards. That’s when I really learned about the fees that credit card processing companies charge, and I started thinking of how to help businesses get around those fees. Stuypend was born!”
What perks do shoppers get for using Stuypend?
Not only can customers feel good about saving their local small businesses money, but they can conveniently make purchases with their phone, no card needed! Further, instead of carrying punch cards, customers keep all of their loyalty points for all of their favorite shops in one place, just by paying with Stuypend.
What is the benefit to businesses?
Instead of taking a percentage of each transaction, Stuypend only charges a low, flat monthly fee so that the business can keep more of their own revenue. In addition to saving on processing fees, Stuypend manages a business’s customer loyalty and rewards programs for them.
How many businesses are using Stuypend?
“We have about 20 businesses using the platform right now, but we are fundraising so that we can grow that number.”
What’s Stuypend’s market?
“Stuypend is here to serve small businesses. We have a diverse set of businesses and owners. Right now, we are based in Brooklyn and working only with businesses in Brooklyn.”
What is the big vision for Stuypend?
“We want to help small businesses all over. We want Stuypend to be used everywhere to save small businesses money!”
What’s next for Stuypend?
“We’re currently putting together a seed round for fundraising. Fundraising is so hard, though. You have to deal with people who don’t believe in your baby and will tell you about why it will fail to your face. You have to get comfortable with the ‘Nos’. But having people tell you that your dream is stupid is not the even worst part; it’s that fundraising takes you away from your business. Stuypend needs to talk to more businesses to get them on board, and you can’t do that when you are fundraising.”
What mistakes did you learn from your first startup that you avoided with Stuypend?
“Two things. First, I made sure that I was focused. With my last startup, we would have an idea and just start working on it. Or we might get a suggestion from a potential client that made us shift our whole focus. But a business isn’t built around one client. We should have been more focused, and I made sure I did that with Stuypend. Also, I did the research beforehand by interacting with small businesses to make sure there was a proven market for my product.”
What’s your word of caution to aspiring entrepreneurs?
“Starting a business can take a toll on friendship and relationships. I don’t feel like I ever step away from Stuypend. This entrepreneur life doesn’t leave a lot of room for hobbies because of time and energy required. Oh, and get used to not having as much money as you used to, at least in the beginning. If you have a professional group of friends that take trips and do other things like that, you may find that you feel a little isolated because you can’t always afford to do that stuff.”
What has been the biggest “win” for Stuypend?
“The whole project is a win. We have an app that is part of folks’ daily routine at their favorite coffee shops and other stores. I’m very proud that hundreds of people have trusted this app with their sensitive financial information. It’s still pretty early in the game for us, and it’s been very hard journey, but we are super proud.”
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