Prepay Nation Wins Award for Innovative Business Model at Women 2.0 Conference
Award recognizes Prepay Nation’s impressive established network of key relationships and revolutionary approach to international micropayments.
San Francisco, November 17, 2010 – Prepay Nation, one of the foremost providers of instant account refills for foreign prepaid mobile operators, was recognized at the 2010 Women 2.0 Pitch Night event for its innovative business model. The fast-growth company presented its platform and operations to an audience of entrepreneurs, investors, and industry-leaders, showcasing the groundbreaking potential usage of their platform to send small currency denominations, or micropayments, across international boundaries without bank accounts or fees. The award recognizes Prepay Nation’s role as market innovator and premier provider in the up-and-coming cross-border micropayment service industry.
The annual Women 2.0 Pitch Night competition drew 130 qualified applicants this year, with contenders from New Zealand, Turkey, Korea, Germany, Canada, Russia, Israel, Brazil, the U.K. and the U.S. Each participant business model was evaluated by investors, with a select few finalists invited for the live pitch night at the Women 2.0 conference in San Francisco.
The conference is attended by industry-leaders, entrepreneurs, angel investors, and venture capitalists, and focuses on the growth and impact of women-owned businesses in the Mobile, Web, and Clean-tech industries. Pitch Night presentations from the Mobile track in which Prepay Nation was a finalist were judged by executives from ATT, Mayfield Fund and General Catalyst.
Prepay Nation generated significant buzz throughout the conference, not only because their nearly zero- overhead platform allows seamless interface between mobile carriers and the retailers who sell refills to their subscribers, but also because that platform has the potential to break new ground as an international micropayment remittance system.
Currently, Prepay Nation’s platform is utilized by leading mobile operators in Latin America, Africa, the Middle East, and Asia to provide consumers in the United States with the ability to send instantaneous refills of mobile airtime to the phones of prepaid subscribers on their international networks. Expatriates traveling, living, and working within the United States can take advantage of this system to provide much- needed support to friends and family back home, in the form of mobile airtime. However, by tapping into “mobile money” ecosystems in the developing world, the Prepay Nation platform and network of operators and distributors can be used by expatriates without a bank account to send small amounts of actual currency to their friends and family back home, instantly and without fees.
By bypassing the hassles and cost of traditional money remittance systems such as Western Union, Prepay Nation addresses a critical pain-point in the immigrant community. Not only can expats now support their friends and family by remotely and instantly refilling their mobile phones with minutes, but using the connectivity established by Prepay Nation, they will soon be able to send spendable currency for use in the many developing regions where the mobile money system is established and accepted.
“This is very promising,” said Gautam Gupta of General Catalyst Partners. “Prepay Nation leverages several current trends in the mobile ecosystem with this remittance service, and they are moving fast.”
The potential for such a simple, instantaneous, zero-fee remittance service ranges from the support of friends and family in other countries, to gifts and critical connectivity and disaster relief. “During the recent earthquake in Haiti,” says Jessica Bishop, co-founder of Prepay Nation, “significant numbers of Haitians in the U.S. sent mobile refills to their friends and family back home, keeping them connected throughout the aftermath. Because of our relationships with these international operators, the disruption of the retail infrastructure in the recipient’s country did not affect replenishments. Haitians in the US simply took cash to one of our partner retailers here, and their loved ones in Haiti had minutes available on their phones instantly.”
Shaherose Charania, founder and chief executive of Women 2.0, praised Prepay Nation for moving to leverage their technology in novel and savvy ways. “Rather than reinventing the wheel, they’re using a top up approach that helps people transfer valuable products to each other, or deliver micro-payments without the expenses and complexities of a wire transfer or money order,” she said.
Bishop said that the response and interest from the investment community present at the event was overwhelming and was a further validation of Prepay Nation’s innovative approach to international micropayments.
She also stressed that beyond their model and technology, their extensive reach added significant value. “We currently operate a fully-functional processing platform, interconnected with several key mobile operators in Mexico, Latin America, Asia and Africa,” said Bishop. “Our distribution cuts across a wide variety of channels – retail merchant outlets, online portals, mobile apps for smart phones, mobile money companies, even processors of gift cards.”
With mobile operator connectivity on four continents and distribution channels already connected to the Prepay Nation platform and more joining on every day, the fast growth of this company promises to be even faster.