(Photo by Stephen Babcock)
Bill Me Later’s founding and acquisition by eBay/PayPal created a fintech center in Lutherville-Timonium. Coming out of stealth mode, a startup founded by a former Bill Me Later leader is providing a new reason to look toward Canton.
After moving to Natty Boh Tower in January, Blispay announced $12.75 million in seed funding and went live with its first product, a tool designed to allow small merchants to provide customers with financing options. The news was first reported by TechCrunch.
An early Bill Me Later employee and later global head of credit products at PayPal following the $945 million acquisition in 2008, founder Greg Lisiewski said he also drew influence for Blispay from his prior experience working with MBNA before online banking really took off. The startup looks to address face-to-face transactions, which are still how the majority of retail sales are made.
Big box stores have plenty of financing programs so you don’t have to pay for everything at once, but each store requires signing up for a different program. Meanwhile, small and medium-sized businesses don’t have the capability of offering those financing plans.
Lisiewski said the idea behind Blispay is to “make financing available to smaller merchants so they can compete with bigger merchants. And, once consumers get it, give them a product where they can use it everywhere they shop.”
The team is looking to make it particularly easy for stores.
Instead of signing a contract and bringing in tech, the merchants just have to display a sign that details Blispay. Then, consumers can apply for approval on their phone for a Visa card that has no interest for six months on a purchase over $199. If they’re approved, they get a card on their phone to complete the purchase on the spot, and a physical Visa card roughly 7-10 days later. The card can be used for normal purchases and provides 2 percent cash back on all purchases.
“Our target audience are not people who need credit, but people who like to use credit to manage their cashflow,” Lisiewski said.
With the move out of stealth mode, the startup is looking to validate its model with stores.
The early work, combined with a growing 13-member team that is made up of many fellow former Bill Me Later/PayPal employees, has attracted early interest. The seed funding round was led by FirstMark Capital. Also participating was Accomplice, NEA, TriplePoint Capital, Founder Collective and an AngelList syndicate led by Crashlytics founder Wayne Chang.-30-
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