Startups
Black in Tech / Fintech

The Payments Plug: This startup with musical roots helps businesses save on fees

Delaware musician Jonathon Shepeard founded the company to connect disparate services for purchase onto one platform.

The Payments Plug aims to be a one stop shop for small businesses (Technical.ly/Holly Quinn)

Founding a tech company is a lot like making music.

At least that’s how Dover’s Jonathon Shepeard, founder of business service provider the Payments Plug, sees it. When he attended Delaware State University, he majored in the music industry and minored in business administration.

A man in a plaid shirt

Jonathan Shepeard (Courtesy)

“I’ve always been into music, and always been business-minded as well,” Shepeard told Technical.ly. “When it comes to the Payments Plug, I pretty much put all my talents together.”

Shepeard has been composing and recording R&B and hip-hop for more than 15 years. His music started with technology, he said. He primarily creates it using a digital MIDI keyboard that can produce a range of virtual instrument sounds, a program called FI studio and another computer program. He was fully aware that what he was doing was engineering, and that putting together so many moving parts in a song could translate into building a business.

He founded the Payments Plug as an affordable multi-service provider in September 2023. It offers one-stop shopping, helping small businesses save money.

Shepeard calls its website the “future-proof superstore” where companies can bundle services, often AI-based, from a roster of strategic partners, including business banking, marketing, IT services and even electric vehicle charging.

A personal approach to brand building

The infrastructure of the Payments Plug has been coming together over the last ten months.

Shepeard is getting ready to sign clients and pursue funding with the help of resources through the Delaware Black Chamber of Commerce and Tech Council of Delaware, which featured Shepheard at its Tech Startup Symposium last month.

While the Payments Plug already has strategic partnerships with AI-driven companies, Shepeard has plans to automate his own platform to customize client experiences even more.

“I really just want to branch out, expand the team, implement AI into my whole process,” he said. “I think that’s going to be the real catalyst.”

For now, Shepeard does a lot of brand-building on LinkedIn, taking a less traditional business approach, and opting for a more personal touch. He’s openly shared vulnerable moments and struggles that most founders generally hide when building a brand. It gives the brand a human touch and aligns with Shepeard’s mission of mental health advocacy.

“I want people to know me personally,” Shepeard said. “Like, OK, he’s a real person.”

 

Updated 7/12/2024

Companies: Tech Council of Delaware / Delaware Black Chamber of Commerce

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