A Q&A with Tappr co-founder and CEO Brett Hales. The Fortitude Valley, Queensland, Australia-based startup, a mobile payments, POS, marketing, and business intel solution for Australian small- and medium-sized merchants, announced the completion of a new $2 million Seed funding round in early-November from unnamed private investors. It was founded in 2012 and has raised a total of $2.42 million in funding to this point. Its service is set to launch this upcoming June.
SUB: Please describe Tappr and your primary innovation
Hales: Tappr is an Australian mobile payment technology company founded in 2012, developed to deliver a feature-rich, easy-to-use payment ecosystem that enhances the user’s experience through design and functionality. Tappr’s first device, Juvo, is a product that combines a mobile payment device, point-of-sale system, and marketing and customer analysis tools in one unit, whilst complying with some of the strictest regulatory requirements. The hardware is compact and connects to a merchant’s smart phone or tablet to accept EMV chip, magnetic strip and NFC credit and debit transactions. Juvo is available for pre-registration now at mytappr.com, and will be released into the Australian market in June, 2014.
SUB: Who are your target markets and users?
Hales: Tappr’s goal is to grow Australia’s small business merchants who are unserviced, under-serviced and serviced. Tappr recognizes a gap in the Australian payment market where small businesses don’t have the resources and tools to grow and prosper.
Hales: Tappr recognizes there are existing payment terminals in the market, however we differentiate our product by placing our company emphasis on our ability to assist small businesses in prospering through a range of product details and offerings greater than just debit and credit card transactions. Tappr’s first product, Juvo, offers real-time analytics, where businesses can see sales and transaction history, view hourly, daily, or monthly summaries, set and track business and financial KPIs, track business growth, view daily transaction peaks, achieve optimal business results, and improve management oversight and decision making.
Juvo also acts as a marketing tool where merchants have the opportunity to grow their business through the Tappr Business Directory, located at mytappr.com. Juvo users are given the option to be listed on the directory to gain free exposure and recognition of their business. Additionally, Tappr supports eco-sustainability, and provides merchants and consumers with the ability to choose email or SMS receipts, which assist consumers in tracking every day purchases with ease.
SUB: You announced last month that you’ve raised $2 million in new Seed funding. Why was this a particularly good time to raise more funding?
Hales: Majority of startup companies struggle to raise funds; approaching the launch of Tappr’s first mobile device in June, 2014, the timing of the capital raising assisted the company in moving forward to reach product development and KPIs.
SUB: How do you plan to use the funds?
Hales: The funds will be distributed between continuing the development of hardware, software, and compliance, to assist in the setup of our first office space in Fortitude Valley, Brisbane, to employ further staff and industry specialists, and to assist the marketing and advertising of our flagship product, Juvo.
SUB: What was the inspiration behind the idea for Tappr? Was there an ‘aha’ moment, or was the idea more gradual in developing?
Hales: During a trip to Singapore, I was surprised and intrigued by the country’s payment system, and I was inspired to fill a gap in the Australia market for mobile payments and payment facilitators. My ideas came to me immediately, and I realized there was a demand for cost-effective, flexible business tools that are much greater than debit and credit facilitators.
SUB: What were the first steps you took in establishing the company?
Hales: The first business plan was written in 18 hours. Once completed, I sought advice on this from a lawyer who assisted me in setting up the company and the further documents required. He liked the idea so much that he invested then-and-there.
SUB: How did you come up with the name? What is the story or meaning behind it?
Hales: I was conflicted over names, and it was my mother who came up with the name ‘Tappr.’ Tappr was meant to resemble the ‘tap and go’ payment function we use to facilitate payments.
SUB: Do you have plans to seek additional outside funding in the near future?
Hales: We have highlighted a Series A round towards the end of 2014. This will be a large capital raise used to expand the company internationally, while solidifying existing infrastructure.
SUB: What have the most significant challenges been so far to building the company?
Hales: Starting a company from scratch has many challenges. Getting in front of the right people is always a challenge. From the beginning, we had to act like we’ve been a large multinational company, therefore getting all the policies, procedures, and structures in place was a challenge with a very small budget and smaller team.
SUB: How do you generate revenue or plan to generate revenue?
Hales: We generate revenue from selling our product, Juvo, and take a transactional fee per transaction.
SUB: What are your goals for Tappr over the next year or so?
Hales: In 2014, Tappr will launch Juvo into the market, making the application available on both Google Play and Apple App stores, complete a Series A round of funding, expand the staffing team as we look to grow internationally, and continue the development of Tappr’s payment ecosystem.