WePay, an online payment start-up that helps groups of people to collect, manage and spend money, has just released a public beta of its group payment product.
Set up by two recent college graduates, WePay raised $1.65 million in venture financing from August Capital in December. Other angel investors include PayPal founder Max Levchin, Ron Conway - an early investor in Google, Facebook and Twitter - and Eric Dunn, a former CTO and CFO of Intuit.
Billed as an online alternative to cash, spreadsheets and the 2.2 billion paper cheques people in the US write each other every year, WePay allows users to create free FDIC-insured accounts and "share" them with others. From these accounts, users can send electronic bills (which can be paid with bank accounts or credit cards) and spend funds with a WePay Visa prepaid card, paper cheques, or electronic transfers. WePay takes a 50 cent cut from each transaction.
"WePay is a lot easier to use than PayPal, especially when you're trying to collect money from a lot of different people," says WePay co-founder Rich Aberman. "But the real difference between WePay and PayPal is that WePay allows users to create separate accounts for different things - like an account for your roommates and a totally separate one for a group vacation."
WePay has been in private beta for the past six months and has received positive reviews from early users says Aberman.
He cites as an example Kara Casey, a recent college grad, who uses WePay to manage collecting and paying fees for her 15-player softball team.
"WePay has made the collection and payment process stress free for everyone involved," says Casey. "I am able to quickly send 'bills' to my teammates and I'm notified when they submit payment. My favourite part is that WePay sends reminders directly to teammates with a balance due. This eliminates the discomfort of having to remind friends that they owe me money."