A Q&A with Wallaby Financial co-founder and CEO Matthew Goldman. The Santa Monica, California–based company was founded in 2011 and raised $1.1 million in Seed funding at the end of August. Investors include Founders Fund Angel, WI Harper Group, SLP Ventures and Lion Wells Capital.
SUB: Please describe Wallaby Financial, and the value proposition you offer to consumers.
Goldman: Wallaby Financial offers the innovative Wallaby card, the first service that brings together a flexible, cloud-based wallet with an intelligent, connected physical credit card that can be used at any location where major credit cards are accepted. Wallaby maximizes your credit card rewards earnings automatically based on your cards, your preferences and where you are shopping, with a real-time algorithm. We also connect you to marketing offers from merchants and banks with social mechanics. Wallaby is dragging payments into the 21st century.
SUB: Who are your target users?
Goldman: Our target users are the more than 57 million U.S. consumers with three or more credit cards in their wallet who want to earn more and simplify their lives.
SUB: Who do you consider to be your competition?
Goldman: There are no direct cloud wallet competitors focused on rewards optimization. Broadly speaking, you could consider mobile wallet companies like Google Wallet or Visa’s V.me competitors.
SUB: What differentiates Wallaby Financial from the competition?
Goldman: Our focus on rewards optimization and our use of plastic cards for the mainline wallet product differentiate Wallaby.
SUB: When was the company founded and what were the first steps you took in establishing it?
Goldman: Wallaby was founded in 2011. After developing the idea, we researched our theories to ensure we could successfully build the product and started working on the key relationships that are required to launch an integrated financial service like this. After putting the initial team together we joined the MuckerLab accelerator in Santa Monica in January 2012 to speed our development.
SUB: What was the inspiration behind the idea for Wallaby Financial? Was there an ‘aha’ moment, or was the idea more gradual in developing?
Goldman: The inspiration is my own difficulties managing my seven credit cards. Having previously been an extremely frequent flier and still traveling at least twice a month for business, getting those points is important to me. One day, while filling up my gas tank—after landing at Burbank Airport—I realized I was using the ‘wrong’ card to pay for my gas when an ad displayed on the pump’s TV screen after I paid for another card I already had with better benefits. I felt the pain of losing $4 right then and thought of all the other gas station visits and figured there have to be a better way.
SUB: How did you come up with the name? What is the story behind it?
Goldman: I’ve always liked Australian animals and as a former systems administrator used to name my machines after them. When running through these Wallaby fit the bill because it sounds kind of like ‘wallet,’ it’s playful, and wallabies carry things in their pouches—we carry your cards and preferences for you—hands free.
SUB: What have the most significant obstacles been so far to building the company?
Goldman: The most significant obstacle is to get the right partnerships in place for a fintech company. It took many months to line these up and do these deals—this isn’t just an app you can release in iTunes without deals in place.
SUB: You just raised $1.1 million in Seed funding. What do you plan to do with the new funds?
Goldman: We will use the funds to expand the team, ensure we build 24×7 uptime infrastructure, undergo security audits and get more cards to more people.
SUB: Do you plan to raise additional outside funding in the near future?
Goldman: Startups are always raising money, but we hope to take a break for a while to focus on execution.
SUB: How does the company generate revenue or plan to generate revenue?
Goldman: We are working on some exciting revenue concepts for the future, but our current focus is on consumer satisfaction and a hassle-free experience.
SUB: What are your goals for Wallaby Financial over the next year or so?
Goldman: Our main goal is to build a secure, delightful, hassle-free product and grow its user base to thousands of consumers. If we do that, everything else will fall into place.
Wallaby Financial – www.walla.by