A Los Angeles-based startup Papaya with a mission to alter the traditional way of paying bills with the aid of its mobile app is poised to make this process stress-free. The subject company has developed technology that offers alternative ways outside of traditional methods, like through Web portals, mail, or over the phone. Instead, the mobile app lets users take a photo of any bill, and then its artificial intelligence-powered “bill-understanding technology” makes sure it gets paid.
Although, the company’s mobile app ensures it gets paid after payment details have been provided by a user. However, to confirm its functionality, the CEO and co-founder ‘Patrick Kann’ demonstrated how it works after tearing up a bill into a few pieces, yet the subject app was able to scan the pertinent parts of the invoice to ensure it was paid. A source familiar with the matter has confirmed.
“As long as a biller has an electronic payment method, anyone can submit payments through our app”, adding that “It’s a true universal payment method”.
The company’s CEO actually got inspired to start the subject product based on his experience growing up in Brazil, where a similar payment technology is already in use.
“People back home were surprised to find out we didn’t have the same capabilities here”, Kann made clear. “In this respect, the U.S. has been an anomaly, with only 3% of bills being paid by a mobile device. We saw a huge business opportunity with mobile bill payments”.
To actualize his goal, Kann teamed up with computer vision scientist ‘Jason Meltzer’, who eventually led the development of the computer vision technology behind the Roomba at iRobot, to bring about Papaya.
Meanwhile, the aim of the company is to minimize Americans’ bill pay stress by making it easy to pay any bill with the aid of their mobile device. Further on this, it also claimed to help businesses of all capacities in all industries as well as government and municipalities get their bills paid faster and when necessary.
The subject company announced it has successfully landed $50 million in a Series B round backed by Bessemer Venture Partners, which also saw the participation of Sequoia Capital, 01 Advisors, Acrew Capital, Mucker Capital, Fika Ventures, F-Prime, and Sound Ventures. However, the current financing round brings the company’s total fundraise to $65 million since its inception in 2016.
In the meantime, startup Papaya is believed to have facilitated payments for “hundreds of thousands” of businesses and organizations including millions of users in the United States. Beyond the subject mobile app, the startup also integrates with partners’ billing processes via embedded widget technologies and paper statements.
The company has really come a long way, which over time, the city of Las Vegas added it to their paper notices precisely after Kann promoted the subject app by putting stickers with Papaya’s QR code on people’s windshields. Equally, Papaya began working with doctor’s offices in a bid to offer the option to their patients. Yet, a company that boasts of 80-person staff.
So far, Papaya’s growth has been “completely organic”, with no marketing team, the CEO has confirmed. Adding that “Our cost of customer acquisition is very low relative to a lot of fintechs”. While it’s important to note that, part of its capital will be deployed towards building awareness and growing the company’s headcount.
While the company’s revenue disclosure seems rather far-fetched, Papaya is known to have a well-modeled revenue system. Owing to the fact that the app is free for users, although Papaya isn’t asking merchants for anything “extra”. Instead, the company earns a percentage of revenue from interchange fees that merchants have to pay when users process credit cards.
According to the lead investor ‘Charles Birnbaum’, who made clear that his firm has been following the Papaya team since it first used its “magical” bill pay app for themselves.
“It’s incredibly rare to come across a business that is not only positively impacting millions of consumers by making something painful more seamless but also solving a critical pain point for businesses within several different verticals spanning from healthcare to utilities”, he said. “We have no doubt the Papaya bill pay experience will become table stakes throughout the consumer financial services landscape in the years to come”.
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