MOVO, with FDIC-backed service, may consider additional funding, CEO says
10 Dec 18 Tags: Expansion capital raise Payments Wallet Payments OpenBanking City: Palo Alto State: California Region: SiliconValley Open: PDF

By: Bill Langbein

MOVO, a neo-bank with broad e-wallet applications, may seek additional capital next year as it prepares for expansion, said founder and CEO Eric Solis.

The Palo Alto, California-based company has received approximately $10,000,000 in private financing since it was founded in 2014. Solis said the company’s service, which now has 250,000 users, grew rapidly during 2018. To develop new features and to facilitate further expansion, Solis said the company could bring in an external funding round. So far, angels, friends and family funds have backed the development of MOVO, said Solis.

MOVO distinguishes its service from competitors as it claims to be the only e-wallet application that is backed by an FDIC bank, New York-based Metropolitan Commercial Bank. While Venmo and PayPal have become trusted applications to transfer funds and make payments, neither has the complete backing of an FDIC bank for processing their transactions. Their respective transactions are routed the core “rails” of mainstream banks and processed securely.

In contrast, after setting up a MOVO account, users can shop in stores and online, pay recurring monthly bills, create VISA debit cards and add cash to their MOVO accounts through participating retailers, such as Walgreen’s. The wallet becomes the bank account, said Solis.

Moreover, the company’s MOVOChain service enables owners of Bitcoin and Bitcoin Cash to convert crypto currency into ready-to-spend cash.

MOVO is a total peer-to-peer-to-peer (P2P2P) service, said Solis. Square established new territory in mobile payments as a P2P service, in which customers could purchase goods directly with a peer, small business retailer, explained Solis. However, Square then re-entered the rails of the financial system to process the transaction between respective bank accounts. The MOVO system, with the backing of Metropolitan Commercial, enables the transaction to move faster between the customer and the retailer. The retailer can then use the payment immediately to buy more inventory or pay down accounts.

Solis described MOVO’s approach to enabling more rapid payments as unconventional, but still “inside the box” and the laws of the financial system. MOVO maintains its standing relationship and support of Metropolitan Commercial, and also is tethered to the mainstream rails of the financial system. However, it is introducing more flexibility and security for user payments and deposits.

The CEO said eight companies could be future acquirers of MOVO, with Apple and Google among the most obvious. The company has no timeline for an acquisition, said Solis, and next year likely will be devoted to acquiring more users.