Why Khosla Ventures is investing money into a seemingly age-old cash payment system?

MEDICIFounder and Chief Strategy & Innovation Officer

What's common between Amazon, Sochitel UK, Greyhound, 7-Eleven, Ria Financial Services and Khosla Ventures is a startup called PayNearMe found in 2011 by Danny Shader.

Mobile Financial Services innovation is at its peak right now. Everything from how we pay our utility bills or buy a coffee at our favorite coffee store downtown. The transformation is mostly from a cash based transaction to a cashless transaction. In this phase of cashless transformation there is still an estimated 25% of the American population who do not have either debit cards or credit cards.

PayNearMe (previously Kwedit) based in California allows its users to pay or receive cash through payment outlets setup in the neighborhood. PayNearMe has partnered with 7-Eleven and Ria Financial Services to pay and wire funds through cash. Through PayNearMe’s services a user can make travel reservations, shop online or pay bills. All this can be done by walking in to any of the 50,000 7-Eleven outlets across USA. PayNearMe also has business partnerships lined up with Amazon, Greyhound and Sochitel UK. PayNearMe’s business concept gives a direct competition to established companies like Western Union.

The business idea behind PayNearMe’s unique service offering came through when Facebook users who collected virtual currency through playing games could redeem cash at any 7-Eleven outlets. The company saw a larger potential and rolled out its cash payment service to include online and offline shopping.

Over 3000 billers are associated with PayNearMe.  Bills carry a bar-code and a 7-Eleven logo at the bottom. User’s take the bill/s and get it scanned at the counter at one of the 7-Eleven outlets and makes the payment to the cashier. The money automatically gets remitted to the biller. User’s who do not own any debit or credit cards can avoid long queues and will also cut down the travel time to make cash based payments.

LTP View: PayNearMe’s operations might appear to be traditional, involving brick and mortar retail but it is a useful service for unbanked and under-banked. It is a connect between offline and online work and this out of the box thinking helped it in getting funded from Khosla Ventures. In late 2011, PayNearMe was successful in raising $16 Million which was followed up in early 2013 with a $10 Million funding.

Amit Goel

MEDICIFounder and Chief Strategy & Innovation Officer

Amit Goel is the Founder & Chief Strategy & Innovation Officer for MEDICI. Amit’s vision is to build a strong FinTech market network that involves financial institutions, banks, startups, investors, analysts & other key stakeholders across the ecosystem – helping each one of them in a meaningful way by removing the asymmetry of information and providing a platform to engage & transact.

Amit is passionate about bringing actionable FinTech-focused insights, innovative products & services for the FinTech ecosystem. Some of his work involves startup scores, bank scores/assessments, predictive viewpoints & other innovations that have helped MEDICI’s customers and the ecosystem. He has been named amongst the Top 100 FinTech thought leaders/influencers in the world & Top 10 in Asia multiple times by reputed agencies, consulting firms as well as financial institutions. Amit has built MEDICI (formerly LTP) as a new-age, tech-enabled advisory/research firm, which is now considered the #1 global research & innovation platform for FinTech in the world.

Amit has been writing pioneering viewpoints on financial technology space that have been ahead of the curve since 2010. His data-driven predictions have helped the customers as well as the ecosystem. His past work experience includes a strong background in strategy & market analysis and advisory to clients (from big business houses to Fortune 500 firms) in payments, commerce, financial services & IT/technology. In the past, Amit had also founded a successful consulting & research practice called GrowthPraxis and has worked at Boston Analytics, Frost & Sullivan, and Daimler Chrysler in strategy & research.