SnapRefund, cofounded by Eddings and Anis Taylor in 2019 as Dime, fintech platform for underbanked people, has already taken this advice during its pivots in 2021 and 2022. For the last year, the Philly startup has been serving the insurance industry as a payment platform that aims to make receiving refunds speedier.
“Some of the things he said in that class, I will never forget, about market fit and like — how you have to listen to the consumer to ultimately drive the product,” Eddings said of his Lehigh University professor.
With a 15-day average for claims to be paid out, according to the founders, SnapRefund aims make the paper check payout process digital. They’ve been live with their platform for about a year, and the startup just signed pet insurance company Odie as its first major insurance client. Odie itself is also a young company, and processes thousands of payments per month, all which will go through SnapRefund.
“We’re really excited to not only provide all the value that we can to them that we know exists, that we’ve been trying to bring into the world for three years, but also learning from them,” Eddings told Technical.ly. “So we’re really looking forward to all the product market fit, tweaks and tuning that’s already started to happen through our partnership with them.”
In the last year, the team of two — Eddings as CEO, Taylor as COO — has learned a lot. Included in that is learning when to fund their own R&D, and when innovation for new features is driven by a customer or client.
For instance: The team listened to the market and realized that paper checks and check-printing services were a must-have for many insurance client sending claims because of regulatory burdens. So while they’re still providing digital services to those insurance clients, SnapRefund also built a feature for paper checks.
“Before, we didn’t have that feature and we probably lost some deals because we didn’t have it,” Eddings said. “But after hearing enough of a common thread from the market that that was a feature, we decided it was worth the risk to build it on our own without anyone funding that, and just have it come out of the company’s bottom line. And it was a worthwhile investment because it did lead to the attraction we needed, which was being able to sign Odie.”
SnapRefund has participated in a few startup development programs, including Philly Startup Leaders‘ spring 2021 idea-stage accelerator and Northwestern Mutual and gener8tor’s Black Founder Accelerator, for which the cofounders received $100,000 and 12 weeks of business training. Eddings said the company is aiming to raise a seed round this year, with hopes of adding some full-time staff.
But for now, they’re joining the second cohort of the Raynier Seed Fund for Underrepresented Entrepreneurs. That program is a partnership between Seattle-based nonprofit Raynier Institute and Foundation (which funds projects or programs that work toward the “betterment of humanity”), the University City Science Center and Drexel University.
SnapRefund will receive a $25,000 investment through the program. It will boost the startup’s runway, but also expand the cofounders’ network.
“What we would hope to see is, of course, finding people in the community amongst these partners [who] not only will help with access to capital as we raise our seed fund that we’re raising right now, but also finding connections into the insurance space,” Eddings said. “Philly has a lot of insurance companies and I would be really interested to see who knows decision makers at those companies that we can leverage to provide the value we’ve provided with Odie to them.”
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