Klink Mobile, Bishop determined to succeed in mobile-to-mobile transfer
Klink Mobile aims to take mobile transfers "above and beyond just minutes," Klink founder Jessie Bishop says.
Bishop (left) in 2009 co-founded Prepay Nation, a service that allows the transfer of cellular airtime from one customer to another, even across international borders. Prior to that, Bishop worked for Euronet Worldwide, where she was initially exposed to the financial payment sector.
Prepay Nation was on track to generate many millions in annual revenues in under two years when the business relationship with her partners fell apart. That left Bishop determined to start again, bigger and better. Klink Mobile was born.
"(Klink Mobile) makes it possible to send value from one mobile account to another," said Bishop, a Kansas City native who today calls the city home base for her startup. "Not only in minutes, but to send minutes as a form of currency, turning it into money via SMS and the customer's bank account."
"Taking the transfer above and beyond just the minutes, taking that one step further, that's the hard part, but it's the really valuable part, too."
There are many entrants in the mobile money space, including companies that provide back-end technology solutions for bank account holders and international mobile providers. One of them, Beamit, a mobile-based money transfer startup, recently raised $2.4 million in funding and counts big-hitters like Jeff Bezos of Amazon and Eric Schmidt of Google among its investors.
"These types of organizations are all potential competitors, but also potential partners," Bishop said. "The world is enormous, and the ecosystem is going to emerge successfully via convergence."
The extra step of offering value above just the minutes transferred is what Bishop believes will set Klink Mobile apart from its competitors. "When you convert virtual value into cash, things become a bit more complex," she said. "Going the last mile is the piece that is the most difficult to achieve. Our direct relations and integrations with mobile operators is also a very difficult piece to replicate, primarily due to the time and relationships needed to build these out."
Expansion on the horizon
Klink Mobile's first transaction processed successfully on Jan. 31, and now the startup is up, running and ready to grow.
Bishop participated in the recent Think Big Partners field trip to Silicon Valley, where she said her company received a good response from investors. Additional conversations with potential investors are happening now, and signing a deal or two in the coming weeks will be a company-changing event, Bishop said.
Klink Mobile is building in two stages, and each has its own revenue model. Their first phase, building out the mobile network operator ecosystem to support the sharing of minutes, operates on a commission-based revenue model. The second, creating the ability to transfer "virtual value" like minutes to currency, will earn revenue based on a percentage fee.
In addition to Bishop, the Klink Mobile team includes one full-time and two part-time employees and a dedicated team of advisors. They're based in Kansas City, but their aspirations are global.
"Further establishment of the team both domestically and internationally," Bishop said of what's on the horizon. "We're looking to expand into the Middle East and Latin America to set up operations there. We will also be onboarding mobile operators around the world and establishing our foundation for growth internationally."
Making her third go of things in the financial payment sector and taking her second crack at a mobile-to-mobile transfer startup, Bishop is determined. "We will succeed; that I do know," Bishop said. "Round two, you can't fail. You can only do it better."
Credits: Photo from Jessie Bishop on Twitter. Screenshot from klinkmobile.com.