AirPay Starts Small, Seeks Feedback on New Mobile Payment System

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get what Adams calls some real-world feedback. As an example of its crowd-sourcing approach, AirPay asked a Facebook group of local tech entrepreneurs for advice a few weeks ago on various fonts the company was considering. The company also was working through a few software glitches yesterday, as people attending the party used the AirPay system to buy drinks at Pangea, the Ansir center’s meetup bakery.

“We want people to drive our roadmap, rather than thinking we know better than anyone else,” Adams says.

Adams was a co-founder at San Diego-based Awarepoint, which provides combines wireless technologies with a real-time location system to help hospitals and clinics track medical devices, instruments, and patients. So he has experience in developing the hardware, software, and distribution infrastructure that AirPay needed. He also acknowledges that AirPay faces two significant challenges—persuading consumers to download the app, and persuading merchants to participate.

James Adams

The company generates revenue by charging merchants 1.99 percent of each transaction. AirPay also offers incentives for users to recruit merchants who sign up for the mobile payment service.

“We’re trying to make it really easy for the businesses, so purchases made today are direct-deposited into merchant accounts tomorrow,” Adams says. So far, however, the service is available only in San Diego.

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Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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