Fast money, fast people. Venmo Payouts is now saving businesses time and paper (as in checks, not cash) with an API designed for sending money directly to service providers. Any phone number or email address can be used to pay babysitters, dog walkers or masseuses via a single API call. Venmo acts as the middle man, collecting your top-secret bank information and using it for the transaction.
Buzz-Feed us business. BuzzFeed has a new business editor for its coming-soon business section. Peter Lauria, former editor-in-charge of U.S. technology, media, and telecom coverage for Reuters, will lead Buzzfeed’s expansion into Wall Street later this spring. Look out for “13 Most Daring Corporate Investments Announced Using These Great Photos of Cats.”
Last August, Silicon Alley darling Venmo, a mobile app that lets you split bills and pay friends, was acquired by Braintree, a PayPal competitor, for $26.2 million. At the time, Braintree emphasized the shift towards mobile commerce. And it looks like having a consumer-facing brand like Venmo is helping in that department.
Today, they announced the launch of Venmo Touch, which should help lower the barrier to buying things on mobile by avoiding the hassle of having to enter your credit card information with every new app . . . as long as it’s part of the Braintree family.
AngelList, the Facebook for startups, just did NYC job seekers in the tech sector a major solid. Today the company released a graphical breakdown of the average salaries of tech companies, drawn from data collected through its jobs portal, which helps match startups with prospective talent. The information is quite revealing, and much more detailed than what you’d find on a site like GlassDoor.
Brain Boost This morning, Braintree, a Chicago-based online payments company announced, a $35 million series B round of funding. The round was led by New Enterprise Associates (NEA). By investing in Braintree, new investors join Accel Partners and others and the company’s total funding is now set at $70 million.
Braintree acquired the beloved bill splitting app, Venmo, back in August and has kept it independent so far. Braintree allows businesses to accept payments from costumers, but Venmo allows consumers to make payments to anyone. It’s a natural fit for both parties.
Braintree’s client list includes fast-growing startups like Uber, Fab.com, Airbnb, who use it, “through periods of rapid growth without disruption to their ability to accept payments,” the company said in an email to Betabeat. They also name-checked competitors like Stripe and PayPal, noting that one “big difference is that merchants receive their funds typically in two days with Braintree, vs. seven days with Stripe.”
Roughly a year-and-a-half after closing its second $25 million seed stage fund, Lerer Ventures is in the processing of raising money for a third. An SEC filing, first noted by TechCrunch, says the size of the round is $30 million.
Although the Form D indicates that the early-stage venture capital firm has yet to sell, expect the round to close quickly.
Last May, it only took Lerer Ventures “a matter of weeks” to raise that $25 million from individuals and family offices. And that was before the highly-regarded New York City firm–launched by Huffington Post cofounder (and Betaworks and Buzzfeed chairman) Ken Lerer and his son Ben Lerer, cofounder of Thrillist–boasted a handful of exits.
A source familiar the deal told Betabeat yesterday that Venmo, a New York City-based mobile app that lets you split bills with friends, is in the process of being acquired by Braintree, a Chicago-based online payments company and PayPal competitor. The New York Times broke the news this afternoon, reporting a $26.2 million acquisition price. On the company blog, Venmo said the deal closed in mid-June and that its payment-sharing service “will remain unaffected” and continue to operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary.
Venmo and Braintree share an investor, Palo Alto powerhouse Accel Partners, which also invested in Facebook.
The two startups do seem to be in the midst of a mutual appreciation society. Last week, Braintree’s community manager Kristi Lynch tweeted, “I know it sounds weird, but the @Venmo app makes me wish I owed more people money.” Two Venmo employees favorited the tweet.
Venmo was founded in Philadelphia in 2009 by two former college roommates, Andrew Kortina and Iqram Magdon-Ismai. The duo eventually moved the company to New York City, where Venmo become one of the early stars in the city’s growing tech orbit, embraced by early adopters for making it easier to split the cost of dinner, drinks, monthly cable bills–or any of the innumerable costs of urban life–over their phones. There were even cutesy, customizable receipts, eagerly tweeted out by the Alley in-crowd.
You Must Remember This
Too busy to check your daily Betabeat? Here are the highlights from last week, as selected by the editors.
Betabeat visited our local pay-with-your-phone startup Venmo yesterday in the company’s overcrowded, underdecorated Chelsea office. It’s two floors above a spa and reminds us of a high school computer lab with the accompanying young people, T-shirts and computers, although the Macbooks were a bit nicer than the monstrous HP desktops we remember from class. We followed cofounder Andrew Kortina down two flights of stairs to a space Venmo has annexed on the second floor, scooted past an intern in Venmo’s bright blue shirt, and kicked a few employees out of a small conference room, where Mr. Kortina propped open the window with an umbrella. A DIY piece of art made out of nails and what appeared to be a piece of the ceiling spelled out “magic room.”
Venmo will probably outgrow its little office soon, although Mr. Kortina likes its proximity to both Penn Station and Whole Foods. Venmo is processing $10 million in transactions per month and growing 30 percent month-over-month. At that rate, give or take a few variables–Mr. Kortina is a data nerd–the company will do $250 million in transaction volume this year.
Perhaps that’s why Mr. Kortina seemed so laid back as Betabeat peppered him with questions about his competitors. But what about Dwolla? What about PayPal? What about Google Wallet? Mr. Kortina is tan and lean, eats kale salads and rides a bike, speaks evenly and takes unhurried pauses. He wishes Whole Foods would take Venmo, but in general, he is not worried about the competition.
The Venmo team is up to 23 “young, passionate people,” as Mr. Kortina said, in an office in Chelsea and is processing $10 million in transactions a month. (Investor Ben Lerer predicted the startup will handle $250 million next year.) “It’s not really stuff that would be captured somewhere else,” he said. “Like if someone’s friend had a bachelor party and they couldn’t go, they could Venmo $20 to get drinks on them because they couldn’t be there. People are using this to share the experience they have when they go out with Read More
Love Thy Developers
Foursquare hosted its second hackathon over the weekend at General Assembly, a surprisingly gender-balanced affair at General Assembly fueled by Pepsi products and beer from Sixpoint Craft Ales. Developers in Paris demonstrated more than 20 new foursquare apps; hackers in Japan demo’ed eight or nine. The New York hackathon produced about 25 apps, hacks and mashups.
Let’s just say there are a lot of new ways to play foursquare. Hackathon savant and newly-anointed Twilio evangelist Jon Gottfried and his team created Loo Review, a game for photographing and rating the city’s public toilets. Betabeat also liked CRawsome, a hack from Yipit’s Vinny Vacanti and Steve Pulec that texts venue managers when regulars and “social influencers” check in.
Perhaps 200 attendees were strewn across the floor, couches, and extra tables that had been set up in the main room, but only 50 were checked into General Assembly when Betabeat arrived in the afternoon for demos–probably because hackers had been checking in all day (about eight had stayed overnight to work on their projects). Just ten percent were present at the first foursquare hackathon in February, according to a show of hands.