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FitPay Wins the Comerica Bank and RocketSpace 2015 Wearable FinTech Startup Challenge

Company wins $50,000 at live pitch contest in San Francisco

SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 4, 2015 /PRNewswire/ — Comerica Bank and RocketSpace announced FitPay as the winner of the $50,000 Wearable FinTech Startup Challenge. Three local judges helped decide the grand prize winner from the field of five finalists, which also included UpDownLeftRight, Amitee, Bridgecrest Medical and Ascenden at a live pitch event hosted at RocketSpace’s tech campus, Thursday evening, December 3, 2015.

CMALOGO“We were very impressed with the quality of the presentations at the pitch night event,” said Greg Belanger, President of Comerica’s Tech and Life Sciences Division. “These entrepreneurs are creating technology that has the potential to add tremendous value to people’s lives.”

FitPay’s CEO & Co-Founder Michael Orlando presented at the pitch night event. FitPay’s goal is to bring payment capabilities to wearable devices by removing all of the “heavy lifting” for wearable manufacturers, consumers, credit card issuers and the card networks to enable payments by delivering an all in one solution.

“We are thrilled to have been selected as the winner of the Comerica RocketSpace Wearable FinTech Challenge from among such innovative startups,” said Orlando. “This event demonstrates Comerica’s commitment to innovation and significant support for the startup community. This will be a huge step to bring our payment platform for wearable devices to market.”

The entries were judged on the following criteria: innovativeness, disruption potential, scale potential, readiness for market and revenue potential. Rose Figliano, Senior Manager, Corporate Innovation Services at RocketSpace, Annie Gaus, Tech Reporter at the San Francisco Business Times and Tina Hui, CEO & Founder of Follow the Coin served as judges.

The contest was the result of a partnership between Comerica Bank and RocketSpace to encourage further innovation in FinTech and empower entrepreneurs to fast-track their big idea.

“Startups are the lifeblood of inRocketspacenovation and are bringing new, game-changing products to market at breakneck speed,” said Michele McConomy, VP and GM of Corporate Innovation Services at RocketSpace. “This contest was a celebration of entrepreneurship and addressed the critical foundation that any innovation team – whether you’re a startup or global corporation – must have to transform an idea into a reality.”

About Comerica Bank’s Technology and Life Sciences Division
Comerica Bank’s Technology and Life Sciences Division is one of the nation’s leading technology banking practices, offering a wide range of financial services tailored to corporate customers, entrepreneurs and professionals. Veteran bankers provide credit and financial services and products to young, growing, venture backed technology and life sciences companies, as well as their more mature counterparts. The Technology and Life Sciences Division serves all major U.S. technology centers from offices coast-to-coast and its headquarters in Palo Alto, California as well as an office in Toronto, Canada. Comerica Bank is a subsidiary of Comerica Incorporated (CMA), a financial services company that is among the 25 largest U.S. banking companies. For more information, visit www.comerica.com. Visit www.facebook.com/ComericaCares. Follow Comerica on Twitter at @ComericaCares.

About RocketSpace
RocketSpace is a technology campus located in the heart of San Francisco. Since 2011, the company has been helping tech entrepreneurs, startups and corporate innovation professionals bring the future to market. The company offers services to its members including programming, consulting, events, and office-as-a-service, which together create the perfect ecosystem and community for innovation to thrive. Select members and alumni include Uber, Spotify, Practice Fusion, Leap Motion, Domo, Accenture, Schneider Electric, Converse, British Airways, Goodyear, Tata Communications, Royal Bank of Scotland, Pfizer, Samsung, and AT&T. For more information, visit www.rocketspace.com.

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Fit Pay and ConnecteDevice Develop Contactless Payment Smartstrap for Pebble

PMS654.Pagare-1San Francisco, Calif. – (November 12, 2015) – Fit Pay, Inc. and ConnecteDevice announced today that they have developed a smartstrap for the Pebble Time family of smartwatches. The new smartstrap, called PagaréTM, enables Pebble Time users to transact secure, contactless payments at millions of retail locations.

“PagaréTM for Pebble is the first execution of our vision to bring secure, frictionless payments to wearable devices,” said Michael Orlando, co-founder and chief executive officer of Fit Pay. “With PagaréTM, Pebble Time users can easily pay without their phone, opening an app or digging for their credit card. We look forward to bringing similar capabilities to millions of fitness tracker and smartwatch wearers through Fit Pay’s extensible platform.”

“We are very pleased to collaborate with Fit Pay on this innovative new smartstrap for Pebble Time,” said Henri-Nicolas Olivier, chief executive officer of ConnecteDevice. “It is a natural extension of our strategy to bring beautiful, cutting-edge, connected products to consumers.”

Pebble announced in March that it would support the development of smartstraps, which are hardware extensions of Pebble Time smartwatches that are designed to augment the devices’ capabilities.

“The PagaréTM contactless payment smartstrap is bringing a game-changing new feature to the Pebble Time family of products,” said Eric Migicovsky, chief executive officer of Pebble. “This is the exact type of robust, new capability that we envisioned the open platform for smartstraps would create for Pebble.”

PagaréTM will use Near Field Communication (NFC) technology combined with card network tokenization to interact with point-of-sale terminals at retail locations. NFC, in place at an estimated 9 million retail locations worldwide, is becoming a ubiquitous payment acceptance technology at POS. PagaréTM will leverage Fit Pay’s Trusted Payment ManagerTM platform, which enables contactless payment capabilities on a wide range of wearable devices.

According to CardNotPresent.com, wearable payments are expected to grow to more than $500 billion by 2020. Fit Pay will launch a Kickstarter campaign in January 2016 to support the production of PagaréTM for Pebble Time and expects the smartstrap to be available in early 2016. Join the interest list at www.pagare.me.

About Fit Pay, Inc.

Based in San Francisco, California, Fit Pay, Inc. is led by payment industry experts with more than 20 years of payment platform and identity authentication domain expertise. Fit Pay’s platform provides a phone-less and app-less experience, allowing consumers to conduct highly secure, frictionless payment transactions. Fit Pay offers an entirely new way for transacting payments using a wearable device.

About ConnecteDevice

ConnecteDevice is a pioneer in the development of ultra-low power connectivity platform for the watch and wearable industry. The company offers a solution with over-the-air update capabilities, that combines its own pre-certified chip, app API’s and a cloud backend. ConnecteDevice addresses banks and telcos needs, for contactless mobile payment wearable solution that allows remote provisioning of a physical secure element. Headquartered in Hong Kong, with European management, the company has offices in Shenzhen, Seattle and San Francisco.

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Fit Pay to Participate in Plug and Play’s FinTech Accelerator

Company bringing payment capabilities to wearable devices

Sunnyvale, Calif. – (September 2, 2015)Fit Pay, Inc., a wearable payment technology company, has been selected from among more than 800 startups to participate in Plug and Play Tech Center’s FinTech Accelerator Program. Plug and Play is world’s largest technology accelerator and venture fund. Its FinTech Accelerator sponsors include Citi Ventures, CapitalOne, Deutsche Bank, USAA, US Bank and Intuit.

“Our platform is transforming contactless payments by enabling wearables to transact secure, frictionless payments,” said Michael Orlando, co-founder and CEO of Fit Pay, Inc. “Participating in Plug and Play’s accelerator will allow us to collaborate with thought-leaders in the FinTech industry and to crystalize our user experience and market opportunities.”

More than a 100 million consumers currently own a wearable device, but approximately one-third stop using it within six months. Fit Pay’s platform will enable wearables to seamlessly transact payments, giving consumers a convenient and highly secure way to pay and a reason to put on their wearable every day. Wearable payments are expected to grow to $500 billion by 2020.

“We seek companies that disrupt existing market paradigms. Fit Pay will do just that by changing the way consumers conduct retail transactions,” said Saeed Amidi, Plug and Play Center’s CEO & founder. “The company has an extremely talented team and compelling proposition. We are excited to have them in the FinTech Accelerator.”

The 12-week program includes mentor sessions with corporate partners, venture capitalists and entrepreneurs, feedback workshops, and potential funding from Plug and Play Ventures.

 About Fit Pay, Inc.

Led by former CyberSource and Visa executives, Fit Pay allows consumers to conduct secure, frictionless payments with wearable devices without unlocking their smartphone or opening an application. Sign up at FitPay.info.

About Plug and Play Tech Center

Plug and Play Tech Center is the world’s largest global technology accelerator and venture fund. Since inception in 2006, its program has expanded worldwide to include entrepreneurs from 24 countries, providing resources to succeed in Silicon Valley. With over 350 startups and 300 corporate partners, we have created the ultimate startup ecosystem. Plug and Play provides active investments with 180 leading Silicon Valley VCs, and more than 365 networking events per year. Companies in our community have raised over $3.5 billion in funding, with successful portfolio exits including Danger, Dropbox, Lending Club, PayPal, SoundHound, and Zoosk.

 

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New technologies to protect online shoppers

FitPay CEO Michael Orlando was interviewed on Fox35 TV at the recent Card Not Present Expo in Orlando, Florida:

(WOFL FOX 35 ORLANDO) -By the end of this year, you’re likely to have a new and improved credit card meant to protect you from fraudsters, but it will not protect you from fraud committed online…

…Mike Orlando, the CEO of a company called Fit Pay, told FOX 35 that biometrics could one day be collected via a wearable fitness tracker and used to authenticate a transaction.

His company has already developed a system that uses devices like a Fit Bit or a Jawbone UP to authenticate transactions without using biometrics.

“We think the authentication with a wearable device can replace those types of standard authentication models and it’ll allow you to do a lot of things on line as well as in person,” Orlando said.

See the full segment here.

VenureBeat

Tim O’Reilly: Silicon Valley is massively underestimating the impact of IoT

VentureBeat’s Chris O’Brien interviewed publisher Tim O’Reilly about the impact of the IoT. There are a number of great insights in the story including this one:

He (O’Reilly) said Uber is also disrupting payments, more so even than much hyped services like Apple Pay. With Apple Pay, you replace one payment device (a credit card) with another payment device (a smartphone or Apple Watch).

“But with Uber, once the service is booked, payment just happens when it’s over — no need for another action by consumers. O’Reilly sees a day when connected gadgets allow for payment systems where stores and machines simply recognize people and conduct a whole transaction automatically.

“What Uber is doing with payments may be more important in the long run than Apple Pay,” O’Reilly said. “Apple Pay re-creates the old workflow, just with a new device. It would be revolutionary to say we don’t need that at all.”

 See O’Brien’s full coverage of the interview here.

emarker

Wearables: The Next Mobile Payment Device?

Wearable Devices Preferred Over Mobile Phones for In-Store Payments

eMarket.com, March 3, 2015

Em GraphMobile payments aren’t a new concept, but most chatter has focused on the usage of mobile phones to purchase items. However, based on December 2014 polling by Stratos, wearables can’t be left out of the conversation. Among US smartphone owners, more than two-thirds said they would prefer to use a wearable device over a mobile phone to make in-store payments.

See more at: eMarketer.com

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Generation Z customers choose biometrics over passwords

From The Paypers:

According to new research conducted by Opinion Matters on behalf of Visa Europe, 76% of 16 to 24 year old consumers in the UK would feel comfortable using various biometric security measures, such as facial recognition, fingerprints and retina scans, to make payments in place of traditional authentication methods like passwords. Another 69% of people polled in this age group also believe biometric payments will make their lives faster and easier.

Full Article

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The Mobile-Payment War Is On

Wall Street Journal columnist Charlie Wells included FitPay today in a story today about mobile payments:

Wall Street Journal, By Charlie Wells

Companies ranging from Apple to Uber gave consumers a taste of something new in 2014: What it feels like to make a purchase without a wad of cash or the swipe of a credit card.

The companies say their latest payment systems—which use new technology on mobile devices—benefit consumers by reducing “friction,” making it faster and easier for customers to pay for what they want with their smartphones…

 

…Some younger firms, meanwhile, have set out to explore uncharted payment territory. FitPay co-founder Michael Orlando says he was inspired to add the ability to pay to wearable fitness bands after a melted energy bar wrecked his wallet on a bike ride and he couldn’t buy a beer.

Some four months ago, Mr. Orlando began building a payment platform that will identify users by their electrocardiograph, the unique activity of their hearts. Stores will be able to sense when authenticated customers enter and want to make a purchase, communicating with FitPay to process the transaction. One report compared the service to something out of the sci-fi film “Minority Report.” Mr. Orlando says it will be available in April 2015.

Full article

 

PaymentsSource

FitPay Aims to Eliminate Effort from Wearable Payments

By Bailey Reutzel – Payments Source

 

FitPay Inc., a wearable technology provider, is betting that the only way to change consumer behavior is to eliminate consumer behavior.

Its software is designed to work through a payment-capable bracelet, but it doesn’t work like other bracelets and smartwatches that require users to hold a wrist up to a payment reader. FitPay’s approach is more like the system predicted in the science fiction film Minority Report, where customers are identified automatically as soon as they enter a store.

The bracelet authenticates users through electrocardiography (ECG) or the electrical activity of the heart and communicates with the merchant using Bluetooth Low Energy. FitPay will initially support Bioynm’s Nymi band, which is also being used by MasterCard and RBC.

Other prominent mobile payment providers, including Apple Pay, haven’t fundamentally changed the user experience even as they shift consumers away from cards, said Mike Orlando, co-founder and CEO of FitPay.

“The consumer is still interacting with the terminal and the phone and forcing the consumer to do something,” Orlando said. “The change that will create adoption is … an experience where it’s completely touchless.”

The bracelet communicates with Bluetooth beacons in each store. These beacons can determine when shoppers enter a store and when they approach the point of sale.

When it’s time to pay, the merchant rings up the items for the customer and FitPay pushes the transaction through. Consumers can see the total on the merchant terminal and they also receive a notification on their mobile device that they’ve paid.

While consumers don’t want to go through a bunch of steps to transact, FitPay’s system could make some nervous. If a merchant for instance accidentally rings up an item twice or rings up an item that the customer doesn’t want there isn’t a way to stop the transaction right at the point of sale. Instead disputes are dealt with on the back end by FitPay.

True to its name, FitPay is also focusing on the health and fitness data that can be gleaned from wearables. The company is building a rewards platform and sees a future where merchants and brands pay to access this data and push offers to consumers. For example, Jamba Juice might want to reward consumers with a free smoothie if they walk 10,000 steps a day, said Orlando.

FitPay charges the merchant a per-transaction fee, and the consumer-facing mobile app that ties into the wearable could be monetized in the future as well.

FitPay plans on launching its wearable sysytem in May 2015. The company is currently beta testing the product with several merchants and banks but wouldn’t disclose their names.

FitPay expects its merchant and banking partners to help promote and distribute its wristbands. The company also plans to tie into some of the open fitness platforms, such as MapMyFitness (owned by Under Armour) and MyFitnessPal.

Wearables are getting a significant amount of attention as the end of 2014 nears. PNC is readying its tech to deploy on wearables. PayPal is continuing its wearable wallet push by supporting the Pebble smartwatch.

Disney reports sharp adoption of its payment-capable MagicBands, which also work as hotel keys and theme park tickets. And the upcoming Apple Watch will support Apple Pay.