WE HAVE LIFT OFF.
This is exactly what I am feeling right now as we prepare for our latest release. And it’s a huge release. In fact, it’s a company defining release and will launch us into brand new territory. It involves a Seconds launch event Friday night in Seattle, with hundreds in attendance. It involves national press coverage. It has involved weeks of (almost) all-nighters from the team – blood, sweat and tears.
It, by all regards, has been the most challenging but exciting time of each one of our lives.
It also involves a hell of a lot of dev work on the product. We basically rebuilt Seconds from the ground up, keeping what worked and threw away the unnecessary. At the time, I didn’t think we could make a more streamlined payment experience, but we did! This could be taken as blasphemy, but the Seconds payment experience is unlike any other.
If you are are a frequent reader you know we have experienced growth each and every month yet we were struggling to onboard new customers/find the right market. Based on that situation, during this summer we decided it was time to expand what was working and remove what wasn’t.
If it’s on or after Sep 28th, check Seconds out now!
Here’s a run down of our changes.
1. We stripped away much of the old merchant experience, it was too clunky and confusing and have drastically redesigned the experience from the ground up. Seconds is truly a new age payment system, built mobile first.
2. We realized the payment experience must be available to everyone (device agnostic), available and functional anywhere the consumer finds themself (proximity agnostic) and merge together communication and transaction for a quick but complete commerce experience.
3. We created a clean interface for both individual and merchant accounts, easily usable and quicker to complete a task. The product is even leaner than before and in my opinion, way more potent.
4. The Seconds experience starts with a simple search bar asking you “who do you want to pay?” You can make payments by searching name, email, twitter @username, phone number and possibly location, if they are not in our system there will be an option to send a quick invite. If you find them, you then enter an amount and click pay. That’s it. The new interface is an interesting direction we are leaning towards…. The merging of Search and Payments. It’ll be exciting to see how this will be used and where it will go from here, especially with merchant’s ability to create keywords. ☺
5. We reimagined what “accepting payments” meant, and have now placed the opportunity one click away from a general Seconds user. Basically, anyone can instantly upgrade to a “merchant account” if they want. The cool thing is merchants are users by default, so they can make payments as well as accept them.
6. We split payment acceptance in two options: a web only account (people are only able to make payments to that account via the web) and a text enabled account (involving both the web and messages sent via text/keyword based payments). Web only is free. Text enabled is $5 per month. All merchants are charged $.50 per transaction through Seconds. We believe the free monthly option will be a big winner and help increase merchant account creation.
7. Creating a merchant account and accepting credit card payments can happen in just a few minutes – all on a mobile device if necessary. It’s truly an amazing experience. This was not the case just a week or so ago – a recent discovery of a new payments partner is going to open doors previously unimaginable.
8. Based on these changes our margins are becoming even more awesome. We enhanced how we are facilitating credit card payments and digital cash payments to create not only a better merchant onboarding but a better overall business. This is huge and will allow for a nice cashflow in the short term as we get going.
9. We have decided to focus Seconds on the college/University/Greeklife student market. We have been told over and over how desperate they are for a sleek payment system where mobile users can quickly make a payment on the fly when they need to. There is also strong interest in non-profits and donation collections for the same experience. These two markets have one big thing in common: the payment is the product, in the sense there’s typically no physical product to be served. This is where we’ll start and should get some strong growth from there.
Below is just a few of the events on our calendar:
Sep 28th – Media Launch of new Seconds payment system
There will be solid media coverage of the launch of our new system. Sky’s the limit.
Sep 28th – Startup Crawl Fights Poverty
I have organized an event for the startup Seattle community and which will double as a launch party. It will be a great night, should grab some exposure for Seconds and you are definitely invited if you are in Seattle. http://soentrepreneurial.com/2012/09/18/the-seattle-startup-crawl-fights-poverty-september-28th-at-5pm-rsvp-now/.
Oct 1st – 3rd. – DEMO Conference
We will be down in SF for the DEMO conference, the trip we won during the SURF Incubator pitch competition. It will be fun and we’ll be working on meetings and connecting with people there. If you are in SF, please connect with me. @jnickhughes.
Oct 16th – 18th – TwilioCon
Twilio (the platform we use for communications) has invited Seconds to be a part of the event, one of a select group of startups to demo/highlighted during the event. TwilioCon will be an awesome time for Seconds to get some solid attention from other startups, users, investors and media.
Soon – Dwolla partnernership
Dwolla will be making some big announcements and they have asked us to be associated with the event. More on this soon!