Expert Collections containing Glassjar
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Glassjar is included in 1 Expert Collection, including Fintech.
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Latest Glassjar News
Mar 6, 2015
Follow @SirSteven Glassjar crew: George Smith (left) and Matt Galloway This isn’t George Smith’s first startup, but it’s his biggest venture to date – and he’s doing it half the world away from home. Smith, who’s from Wellington in New Zealand, just launched Glassjar , an app aimed at making group payments easier in the US. The idea for this first formed in 2012 back in New Zealand when Smith and Glassjar co-founder Matt Galloway met. That first concept of group payments was a bit different from today’s app because it was shaped by how things are done in New Zealand. Over there, young people in a shared house set up a joint bank account with their roommates in order to split and pay the utilities bills and any other shared expenses – a complex and inflexible system that Smith himself used until quite recently while a student at the University of Canterbury in Christchurch. The first blueprint was to create a web app for tracking expenses in a shared house’s joint bank account. Fast forward to today, Glassjar isn’t just aimed at roommates or college students – it’s designed to be used by anyone in a scenario where a bunch of people need to pay for something. Smith sees things are done differently in the US. “And the banking structure is wildly different,” he says. “So we pivoted to the more general kind of payment app, but still very focuses on how to facilitate payments between a group of friends and really streamline that process.” Splitting the bill Rather than forcing everyone in a group to use the app, only one person has to use Glassjar on their phone. When it comes time to pay for something, such as a lunch for a bunch of friends, one person can volunteer to pay for the whole thing upfront in the restaurant and then use the app to create a “glass jar” (hence the name) to collect the share of the bill owed by his or her buddies. He or she does this by inputting an amount due in the glass jar and then scanning the friends’ credit cards using the phone’s camera. The Glassjar app then sends out invoices for the amounts due. Although the idea formed three years ago, the business only really got off the ground in 2014 when Smith and his teammates entered the Lightning Lab accelerator in New Zealand, which also gave them a small seed round of funding to carry things forward. While there, the Glassjar crew got accepted into the Y Combinator (YC) winter batch of startups, which is currently ongoing. (Disclosure: Tech in Asia is also part of the current Y Combinator batch. See our ethics page for more information. ) Once relocated to the US towards the end of last year, the team decided to adapt Glassjar and focus it on the US. “People even use checks to pay each other back!” “Getting into YC gave us the confidence to reevaluate where we were at with the product and to take a step back and think how we can reassign it and how we can go after a bigger problem,” Smith explains to Tech in Asia from his new base in Mountain View, California. That bigger problem is the way that payments in general are so fragmented in the US – even more so than in a number of other nations. “People even use checks to pay each other back,” says Smith. As with many issues faced by millennials, there are already a bunch of startups trying to solve peer-to-peer payments in a variety of ways. There’s Venmo, GroupMe, Splittr, SpotMe, Lovely, and BillPin, to name but half a dozen that spring to mind. Glassjar will face a challenge to get people using a genre of app that hasn’t yet taken off in a huge way and for which there are already an array of options. Smith hopes to get a critical mass in a community of early adopters, such as 20-somethings in California, as a way of building up a broader momentum for Glassjar across the US. While Glassjar is free to set up and receive money, it has to make money somewhere. It does so by charging a fee to the people who use the app to pay back their share. At the moment the fee is pegged at 2.9 percent. Smith acknowledges that there’s always the risk of someone defaulting on their share of the group payment by failing to follow up on the invoice that they’re sent by email. “You need to make payments with people you trust,” he adds. Glassjar is available for Android , while the iOS version is due out very soon.
Glassjar Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
When was Glassjar founded?
Glassjar was founded in 2014.
Where is Glassjar's headquarters?
Glassjar's headquarters is located at Wellington.
What is Glassjar's latest funding round?
Glassjar's latest funding round is Seed - II.
How much did Glassjar raise?
Glassjar raised a total of $240K.
Who are the investors of Glassjar?
Investors of Glassjar include Y Combinator, ICE Angels, Sparkbox Venture Group and Lightning Lab.