Money is a means of communication, when you boil it down. It’s a communication of value, which opens up a conversation, as it were. Money is a communication tool.
We were at MoneyConf in Madrid in June, and as ever at these events there were some rising stars visible amongst the constellations of fintechs, and as is often the case you can only identify the particularly exciting companies once you start talking with the founders. Somehow the banners and display stands don’t quite communicate the potential in the same way as an enthusiastic CEO. When you meet the visionary behind the company, and they open up, that’s when it gets really interesting.
I ‘got’ Moneymailme immediately. In my mind it makes absolute sense and has clearly massive potential. In a nutshell, it’s a messaging app that you can also send money through. Imagine being able to send an SMS and as well as an emoji you can attach 1p, or 50p, or £5, or however much you want to send from your e-wallet.
Friend had a bad day? ‘Don’t worry mate, go buy yourself a beer’. Attach a fiver. Lost a referendum? Send your mate £1 and tell them to enjoy the 70p it’s now worth. Add a shocked face emoji.
The potential for invigorating communications by adding money is as limitless as the breakthrough of being able to add pictures to SMS texts. It’s a bit obvious.
Some of the key understandings behind the Moneymailme vision is that the transfer of funds between known contacts should be as instantaneous as sending a text, it should be free, and it should be conducted across the same platform as the conversation. It should be like sending an emoji. From there, the users will create a million reasons to send money to each other. From the crucial, migrants supporting their families back home, to the obvious, friends paying a split bill, to the meme. My first transfer was to a mate who told me he’d just joined the Labour party. I sent him a £3 refund.
Moneymailme does take a commission on the initial upload of money into the digital wallet, 2.5% if I remember rightly. But account to account transfers are instant, seamless, and free. It’s playful in the concept; it’s professional in the delivery. They’re partnered with Mangopay, who take care of the financial transactions and client funds, anti-money laundering regulations, and security.
Signup is pretty frictionless and straightforward, not a Facebook integrated login, that’s against regulations and no bad thing. I enter the promo code and get £20 straight into my Moneymailme e-wallet account. I’m impressed. I can withdraw it to my bank account if I go through that process. But I don’t want to withdraw it. I want to send it around to people for fun.
This is the brilliance of this app. It takes something normally very serious and utilitarian, money transfer, and makes it into a game, a banter between mates, a communication.
There’s going to be loads of fun had with this, it makes a conversation more real, it does something fundamental to money, it makes it immediately shareable… It’s a potential game changer. It’s also a bit obvious. I mean, why could I not do this already?
Doubtless Facebook are looking at this kind of functionality, but for them, I suspect their size is actually a problem. Creating and building this kind of financial social network is one thing, and hard enough. Adding the financial component into an existing social network platform with billions of users and not all of them real is another thing altogether. Is this why it doesn’t yet exist in a mainstream form? I’ve never seen an app like this before, there must be Chinese versions; digital wallets and chat systems, all as one interface. But no one has got mainstream traction that I can see. Keeping exploring, I remember Mihai demonstrating the function on the app that lets you send money to charities through Global Giving. The application for charities is clear and obvious, disaster relief, raising funds for communities, for school projects, for petitions, for a thousand possibilities. There’s a shop component to the app in the pipeline too. In fact, there are so many possibilities, the challenge will be to introduce them in the right order, and not complicate the user interface. The real test of it will be the exponential increase in users, of course, scaling and keeping on top of customer service, for one thing. I can see challenges, certainly, and how things can be done better already, and no doubt each iteration of the app will bring it closer to perfect. I can also see the market, and it’s huge, a vast ocean of possibilities, as individual as the communication between people can be.
Sending money as a hello. As a goodbye. As everything in between.
Occupation: Fintech Entrepreneur CEO & Founder of MoneyMailMe
Born: Alexandria, Romania, 1988
Favorite Books: Art of War – Sun Tzu; Competitive Strategy – Michael Porter; Choosing The Hero – K Riva Levinson
Favorite Films: A Beautiful Mind; Inception; Steve Jobs; The Theory of Everything
Hobbies: Formula 3 racing; Motor sports; Chess
Business Philosophy: Create Shared Value. Build systems that emerge as networks of value.
Favorite CEO: Jack Dorsey, Co Founder and CEO of Twitter and Square
Quote: “Value is about money. Values are about people.”