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Waspit Inc. is one of a crop of disruptive startups trying to tie mobile and payments to social networking. And now it has an additional $3 million to further its disruption. The company announced it has secured funding from a group of New York-based private investors. The money will go toward additional sales and marketing efforts, as well as feature upgrades for its service.
Waspit's hook is that it aims its "social banking" services at the college market, recruiting a stable of Waspit Ambassadors on campuses to market the product and sign up new users.
Waspit customers can use the social banking platform to send and receive funds, make purchases and pay bills. The service even comes with a MasterCard branded debit card for offline purchases as well as an NFC-enabled sticker that can be affixed to a mobile phone to make contactless payments. There's also a rewards program tied to usage that gives users points every time they use the service. Points can be redeemed for items such as gift cards.
According to company CEO Richard Steggall, the new funding shows that Waspit's strategy of delivering a payment service to the college market is sound.
"We are thrilled to receive this additional funding, which comes from investors who have taken a long-term, strategic view on our unique business model and the neglected market we serve," Steggall said. "Their commitment to Waspit highlights the tremendous growth potential that exists for our brand, and reinforces our goal of being the complete banking and social commerce tool for students."
So far, Waspit has seen healthy enrollment since its launch just two months ago. More than 5,500 students have registered for the service and 16,000 are waiting for an invitation. The program has also signed 96 ambassadors across 34 campuses nationwide.
Providing financial services to an untapped market through a network of peers is all well and good, but Steggall believes an added benefit to Waspit is that it reinforces good financial habits. That's something he hopes the parents of Waspit customers will appreciate.
"It is important that we emphasize to parents the benefits Waspit offers when it comes to fiscal responsibility and security for students," Steggall said. "Our approach allows us to bring both together while also remaining appealing to college students."
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