The best part about being a writer who covers startups is seeing revolutionary ideas take shape from their infancy. To examine disruptive technology and prognosticate on the effects on society as a whole is fascinating. What makes this even more exciting is I am out of the echo chamber of Silicon Valley. In fact, I am in Newport Beach a small beach town in Orange County CA, but for the purpose of this article the home to PayDivvy.
PayDivvy according to CEO Mike Melby is:
“the first and only social bill pay solution. PayDivvy provides a smarter way to manage bills by allowing you to pay, send and share bills…simply and socially…via web or mobile. Our technology corrects the status quo by eliminating the fragmentation and voids that exist in bill payment, allowing you to pay all your bills in one place, only pay your fair share in real-time and save money.”
PayDivvy, unveiled today at the Finovate Conference in San Francisco, was conceived a few years ago while Mike Melby was attending the Wharton School of Business. His idea and subsequent business plan won the Wharton Venture Award in 2009 and was a finalist for the Wharton Business Plan Competition. This drove Mike to follows his passion in lieu of returning to the private equity world he had been in prior to business school.
To take on such a daunting industry Mike knew he needed a co-founder with bill pay experience. Luckily for him, a former friend and Wharton alum, Ray Tamblyn, ran e-payment for VISA Europe before coming on board as co-founder of PayDivvy.
Bill pay aggregation software has been around for a few years now and is nothing revolutionary, but PayDivvy is not just an aggregation service. The social layer PayDivvy adds to a fragmented personal bill pay industry is really its secret sauce. The best example the company uses is Mike’s real-life tale in college. He lived with 4 roommates and had 8 recurring bills shared by all the roommates. With no efficient way to share those bills, other than a spread sheet and checks back and forth for nominal amounts like $1.49 plus a separate system to pay personal and non-roommate bills, Mike knew their needed to be a better way.
This situation is solved with the use of PayDivvy. Mike explains,
“Now these roommates can set up all of their shared bills with PayDivvy, indicating how they would like the bill to be split (e.g., by %, by $ amount). PayDivvy will then receive the e-bill from the provider every month, calculate the roommates’ shares, charge each roommate their respective amount due, aggregate the payments and make the lump sum payment directly to he service provider, landlord or merchant.”
PayDivvy has been in private beta for the last six months and received approximately $1.5 million in investments from Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, Goldman Sachs executives and other angel investors.
Mike and team are working tirelessly and the new features coming soon make PayDivvy even more of a disruptive force. Credit reporting and on-time payment guarantees on a basic level as well as bill financing and deadbeat roommate coverage on the more complex. But it is really the secondary social layer that makes this new technology incredibly exciting. PayDivvy plans to offer discounts and upgrade offers to users by comparing them to their social network using the service. The PayDivvy dashboard is set up in a Facebook-esque newsfeed giving you a list of bills paid, “divvys” received, etc. with the soon to come addition of offers. The feature will be fully anonymous, but will be able to tell you if portions of your friends are paying less for the same service, such as cable, water, cleaning service and other services. The offer is placed in your feed and gives you the option to upgrade or purchase that service.
PayDivvy is great even if your living situation does not involve roommates. Many of us share bills regularly and have always either paid the person back or used multiple forms of payment. Go to dinner or get drinks with a bunch of friends and have all the drinks on one bill? Don’t whip out 5 cards and split the bill or take on the burden of paying the whole tab and waiting (in some cases hoping) to get paid back. Just create a Divvy!