Brothers Gavin and Iain McConnon established BoxPAY in Dublin this year to take advantage of the increasing need for simple global micropayment mechanisms, particularly for merchants who want to monetize social media services and casual gaming.
BoxPAY allows merchants to collect small payments, typically less that $15 or €10, from customers through their mobile devices via SMS. It is particularly attractive to smaller companies as it offers quick and easy self-integration with no minimum volume requirements.
The brothers gained experience in the mobile billing industry through their other company, Global Billing Solutions, that was set up 10 years ago to promote, deliver and bill mobile services. Global Billing Solutions provided an ideal springboard for boxPAY as the new offering could take advantage of Global Billing Solutions’ offices in Dublin, Sydney and Johannesburg and its connections with mobile phone carriers around the world.
Gavin and Iain adapted the technology already created by Global Billing Solutions to allow third-party merchants to use its billing platforms. This process took 6 months and during this time boxPAY also expanded from the 20 countries Global Billing Solutions operated in to 55 markets.
“We wanted to target markets where people usually don’t have access to credit cards so we got connections in Africa, South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania, Asia, Malaysia, Indonesia and Latin and South America,” says Gavin.
Iain believes this global reach of boxPAY gives it an edge over its competitors: “We see the opportunity in allowing customers to build their users in places that they’ve never dreamed of
charging in before like in Africa or Latin America where they have customers but are not monetising them. For US merchants at the moment they may be monetising their customers in the US but not for these other regions.”
BoxPAY’s clients are mainly social and casual games from Facebook games and apps to music and video download services. Gavin says that for these sites, users don’t want to go through a lengthy credit card payment procedure for smaller amounts of money:
“For a very small transaction of €2 or €3 or $2 or $3 you don’t want to go through that process. We provide a really quick computer interface for mobile phones where we send a pin code by SMS and a customer enters the pin code on the website and it’s as quick as that for the user experience.”
Gavin also believes that boxPAY has the “competitive edge” on credit cards in terms of security as using your credit card on the internet presents a security concern for customers. By comparison, boxPAY only needs a customers’ mobile phone number and no other personal details to take a payment for an online service.
“Some of our competitors only talk to the big fish so if you’re a small Irish merchant for instance and you want to bill customers only in Ireland, they’re not going to respond. With our self-serve platform, if you’re a website in Cork and you want to bill customers in Cork you can sign up in 15 minutes to bill those customers.”
While boxPAY was initially self-funded, Gavin hopes it will raise external funding either in Ireland or the US. The company has also set its sights on opening an office in the US in the near future.
“We’d like to have a presence in the US because a lot of our target customers are going to be based there and it would be good for them to have at a minimum a sales, marketing and support presence there,” says Gavin.
Gavin and Iain are no strangers to startups having also established an online DVD rental service moviestar.ie in 2006. The company was sold to