BancBox, a startup that’s been flying under the radar over a year, is launching its new payment services platform today. At first, you might think the most apt comparison is that of Stripe, which also offers a developer-friendly way to accept payments on web and mobile. But BancBox goes much further than transactions. The platform lets developers build all sorts of payment services within their apps including credit card payments, ACH transfers, peer-to-peer payments, multi-party transactions, wire transfers, check acceptance, and more. You could build a full-on mobile wallet backed by this service, for example. Or, as co-founder Sanj Goyle says: “PayPal could be built on top of our platform.”
The service provides a set of developer APIs which, out of the box, cover the money movement flow from end to end, allowing businesses to not only collect, but also store and send money within their web and mobile applications. BancBox is PCI compliant, it has a money transmitter license, and all its stored value accounts are FDIC insured through partnerships with banks. Currently, BancBox is partnered with Four Oaks Bank in N.C., Chase, M&I, and a northern California bank still under NDA.
Goyle says the goal is to do for payments what Amazon has done for hosting. “A lot of the attention and focus is one aspect of payments,” he says. “allowing e-commerce companies to process a credit card transaction.” They all do a great job, he adds, but BancBox sees companies in that space as potential partners, not competitors. “What Stripe and Braintree do is great – I don’t want to diminish that,” says Goyle, “but it’s really a small subset of our features.”
Developers who implement the technology in their own applications, web or mobile, can pick and choose which pieces they need for their own businesses. The technical implementation is easy, but the underwriting portion and regulatory review process takes a little time. During the private beta period, BancBox signed up half a dozen customers, including Giftly, ReadyForZero, CFTPay and others…including themselves, in fact.
“We eat our own dogfood,” says Goyle. You see, while BancBox was created in 2011, the company itself is not new. Previously, co-founders Goyle, Praveer Kumar, and Bill Wilson launched National Payment Network (NPN), a company focused on the wholesale payments space, and specifically in payment processing for distressed debt. While that business, powered by the technology that has now become BancBox, remains up-and-running, the focus for new investment will be on BancBox.
In a few months, BancBox will roll out a prepaid debit card option in partnership with Discover, which will allow a mobile app to create a debit card on the fly. The virtual debit card can be then be scanned via QR code at checkout. (Customers can still swipe its plastic counterpart at more traditional merchants, however.)
As NPN, the BancBox team raised $4 million from Foundation Capital in 2007 and another $6 million from Foundation, Floodgate, Baseline Ventures, Harrison Metal, and Founder Collective in 2009 before hitting profitability. Goyle says BancBox doesn’t have any specific plans to fundraise now.