Clinkle

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Clinkle
Privately held company
Industry Mobile payments
Founded Palo Alto, California, United States (2012 (2012))
Founder Lucas Duplan
Defunct 2015 (2015)
Headquarters San Francisco, United States
Website www.clinkle.com

Clinkle was a mobile payments company founded in 2012. In 2013 they raised $25 million.[citation needed]. The product launched to college students on September 24, 2014.[1] The company founder, Lucas Duplan, made the decision to shut down the company in 2015 after extensive piloting revealed that the consumer pain point was not as strong as originally anticipated and increasing future profit margin pressure from Apple Pay and Google Wallet.

History[edit]

Clinkle was founded in 2011 by Lucas Duplan, then a computer science student at Stanford University.[2][3] Duplan had decided to work on mobile payments during a study abroad program in London after his freshman year.[3] Upon returning to Stanford, Duplan received guidance from Mehran Sahami, a professor who taught the university's introductory programming methodology class.[4] Clinkle rented a house in Palo Alto, California using money from Duplan's parents and a summer program through Highland Capital Partners.[5][6] With approximately a dozen students building the app, it ran a beta test at Stanford in which testers could send payments to each other.[3]

Through VMware co-founder Diane Greene, Duplan met Accel partner Jim Breyer, who became interested in the company after discussing it with Stanford professors and graduate students.[2] Breyer became an investor following his first meeting and product demonstration with Duplan and participated in a round of funding for the company.[7] By June 2013, Clinkle had raised $25 million from a broad range of investors, including Greene, Andreessen Horowitz, Intel Capital, Intuit, Peter Thiel, and Owen Van Natta.[8][9][10][11][12] The funding amounted to the largest seed round in Silicon Valley.[13] Shortly after, Duplan moved the 50-person company from Mountain View to San Francisco.[14] In 2016 a photo was leaked of CEO Duplan and Richard Branson burning wads of fake $100 bills.[15]

In October 2013 former Netflix chief financial officer Barry McCarthy became Clinkle's chief operating officer,[16] and two more former Netflix executives later joined as vice presidents.[17] McCarthy left Clinkle after less than 5 months at the company.[18] Near the end of the year, the company laid off a quarter of its employees.[19] In 2015 seven core employees quit and the remaining team is believed mostly consultants providing support and no more than 12, down from 70 several years ago.[20] Forbes reported in January 2016 that investors were losing patience with the lack of any market product and were requesting a return of funds.[15]

Product[edit]

Clinkle released an app for download on Google Play and the iTunes Store. Clinkle first launched on college campuses and targeted merchants near college campuses.[2][21][22] Clinkle announced on September 26, 2013 that after two months of opening their college waitlists, over 100,000 students had signed up despite no clear product description.[23][24] Until September 2014, the app had very limited functionality and only allowed users to join a waitlist [25] with a launch date of September, 2014.

Before launching, the company had released limited information about its product, despite significant press coverage[citation needed]. The product was intended to include a mobile app that served as an online wallet.[25] Wallets would be linked to existing credit cards and bank accounts.[2] A June 2013 report by TechCrunch stated that the app was going to use high-frequency sound to send payments between devices; however, the section was shortly retracted.[4] Clinkle confirmed that the product would not require near field communication, a wireless technology used by Google Wallet and Apple Pay.[2] Clinkle stated that the product would also provide merchants with information about their customers for the purpose of targeted sales promotions.[6]

Despite its initial launch as an alternative payments processing system, it has lost its technological edge to new products like Venmo, a peer-to-peer payments app, and later Apple Pay, which achieved what the company had originally set out to do.[15] The company decided to pivot, and launched to the public on September 24, 2014 a new flagship downloadable application aimed at college students.[1]

The launch debuted a Clinkle Card that allows users to earn rewards for paying at stores and online. After every seventh payment, Clinkle card users are awarded a "Treat". They can send that Treat to a friend along with a photo and a caption. Some Treats refund the recipient's next purchase. Treats are publicly displayed on a social feed within the app, but the Treat's photo is blurred for the recipient until it's opened. Treats that earn boosts from friends are more likely to open for a free purchase. [26]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "$30 Million And Three Years Later, Mysterious Payments App Clinkle Finally Launches". Retrieved 16 October 2016. 
  2. ^ a b c d e Wingfield, Nick (June 27, 2013). "Silicon Valley Luminaries Bet on Clinkle, a Payments Start-Up". New York Times. Retrieved January 19, 2014. 
  3. ^ a b c Gallagher, Billy (June 27, 2013). "Clinkle Raises Celebrity-Filled $25M Round As It Gears Up To Eliminate The Physical Wallet". TechCrunch. Retrieved January 19, 2014. 
  4. ^ a b Roose, Kevin (June 28, 2013). "How a 22-Year-Old Stanford Grad Won Silicon Valley's Money Chase". New York. Retrieved January 23, 2014. 
  5. ^ "Highland Capital Partners Announces Summer@Highland 2011 Teams". Highland Capital Partners. July 20, 2011. Retrieved April 27, 2014. 
  6. ^ a b Efrati, Amir (April 3, 2013). "Startup's Deep Roots: Stanford". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved January 23, 2014. 
  7. ^ Dembosky, April (June 27, 2013). "Facebook backers make big early bet on college start-up". Financial Times. Retrieved January 26, 2014. 
  8. ^ Tam, Donna (June 27, 2013). "Mobile payments startup Clinkle nabs $25M in early investments". CNET. Retrieved January 19, 2014. 
  9. ^ Nusca, Andrew (June 27, 2013). "With $25m in the bank, Clinkle takes on mobile payments". ZDNet. Retrieved January 19, 2014. 
  10. ^ Wasserman, Todd (June 27, 2013). "Startup Clinkle Gets $25 Million to Create Mobile Payment Standard". Mashable. Retrieved January 19, 2014. 
  11. ^ "Startup Clinkle Has A High Frequency Plan To Push Mobile Payments". ReadWrite. June 27, 2013. Retrieved January 19, 2014. 
  12. ^ Geron, Tomio (June 27, 2013). "Payments Startup Clinkle Raises $25 Million Seed Round". Forbes. Retrieved January 19, 2014. 
  13. ^ Drake, Sarah (December 4, 2013). "Payments startup Clinkle nabs more talent from Netflix as it rounds out its exec team". Silicon Valley Business Journal. American City Business Journals. Retrieved January 23, 2014. 
  14. ^ Grant, Rebecca (June 27, 2013). "Clinkle raises massive $25M seed round to transform how we pay for things". VentureBeat. Retrieved January 23, 2014. 
  15. ^ a b c Mac, Ryan (September 23, 2013). "Clinkle Up In Smoke As Investors Want Their Money Back". Forbes. Retrieved 16 October 2016. 
  16. ^ Primack, Dan (October 22, 2013). "Ex-Netflix CFO joins stealth payments startup Clinkle". CNNMoney.com. Retrieved January 23, 2014. 
  17. ^ Lawler, Ryan (December 4, 2013). "Stealthy Payments Startup Clinkle Brings On Two Former Netflixers To Fill Out Its Exec Ranks". TechCrunch. Retrieved January 23, 2014. 
  18. ^ Rey, Jason Del (13 March 2014). "Clinkle's Still a Hot Mess as Its Big Shot COO Departs (Updated)". Retrieved 16 October 2016. 
  19. ^ Primack, Dan (December 9, 2013). "Layoffs at stealth payment startup Clinkle". CNNMoney.com. Retrieved January 26, 2014. 
  20. ^ Constine, Josh. "Clinkle Implodes As Employees Quit In Protest Of CEO". Retrieved 16 October 2016. 
  21. ^ Del Rey, Jason (June 27, 2013). "Pressure Is on Stealth Payments Startup Clinkle as It Raises $25 Million From Big-Name Investors". All Things Digital. Retrieved January 19, 2014. 
  22. ^ Primack, Dan (June 27, 2013). "Clinkle raises $25 million to kill Square". CNNMoney.com. Archived from the original on January 13, 2014. Retrieved January 19, 2014. 
  23. ^ Huspeni, Andrea (2013). "Richard Branson Invests in a Startup That No One Understands Yet". Entrepreneur. Retrieved January 19, 2014. 
  24. ^ Fitchard, Kevin (September 26, 2013). "Clinkle becomes a tech celebrity magnet, landing Richard Branson as an investor". GigaOM. Retrieved January 19, 2014. 
  25. ^ a b Fitchard, Kevin (June 27, 2013). "Stanford's $25M secret: Payments startup Clinkle wants to make your college cashless". GigaOM. Retrieved January 23, 2014. 
  26. ^ Constine, Josh. "Mobile Wallet Laughingstock Clinkle Finally Launches To Let You Pay Friends And Earn "Treats"". Retrieved 16 October 2016. 

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