Michael Rolph is CRO & co-founder of Yoyo, the only mobile platform that seamlessly blends payments, loyalty and discovery. Michael has held senior sales and strategy roles at Barclaycard Business, First Data and PayPal. Formerly a Director and EiR at Anthemis Group, he advised a number of companies in the payment space including Vocalink, Skrill, Regus and Hibu.

 

Michael Rolph founded Yoyo wallet in 2014
Michael Rolph founded Yoyo wallet in 2014


Yoyo Wallet launchd at Imperial College, London, January 2014 with its smart wallet and has gone on to power cashless and loyalty transactions across the UK’s top universities and corporate head offices.  To date Yoyo has raised $15m and is expanding its platform to power next generation omni-channel commerce.

 

The company was launched in London at Imperial College
The company was launched in London at Imperial College


1) What is yoyo, whats the purpose of it?

Yoyo is a smart wallet platform that provides a mobile wallet for consumers and insight plus marketing tools for retailers.  We capture basket level SKU data and deliver a seamless transaction experience that is more than just payment.  Through one quick and simple scan customers not only pay but also receive a fully itemised digital receipt and instantly collect any loyalty points or stamps.  Retailers are able to target their customers based on preferences and behaviour segmentation with offers that the customers can purchase in-app.  The fundamental purpose is to enable a better, more engaging and rewarding relationship between the consumer and retailer.  We are solving the “know your customer” problem.

2) Who do you target as your audience?

Yoyo launched at Imperial College, London, which is one of the worlds top universities Jan 2014.  We have since gone on to launch at over 30 UK universities and 50 corporate head offices.  We are seeing massive growth in user adoption and usage as Yoyo becomes the preferred way to pay, collect rewards and get offers on campus.

3) There are so many other smartphone apps which let users purchase goods.  What makes your unique?

There is a general perception that this is a crowded space.  The reality is though that its just noisy, not crowded!  Aside from Uber and Starbucks who have very specific use cases, no one has created an open and ubiquitous solution.  When it comes to the big guys out their like Apple, Google and Samsung they have just disrupted plastic cards, thats all.  Yoyo is unique because we are the only ones focusing on creating real value add for both the retailer and consumer through our smart wallet approach.  We are more than just payment.  By the way – you can use Apple Pay as a funding method within Yoyo Wallet.

4)How did you come up with the idea for Yoyo?

As founders we have a background in the payments space and had been super sceptical about mobile payment.  We knew the question to answer was not how do you make payment relevant for mobile but something more like “how do you make mobile relevant for retail”.   It was not until Starbucks came along and cracked the code for the user experience that we started to get excited by the potential.  Effectively our early thought was that if you could take the Starbucks experience but enable a user to use it everywhere as a start point.  Additionally if you were able to combine Tesco Clubcard type insight for the retailer then it felt that there could be a winning proposition.  Bottom line is that you have to add value to both consumers and retailers transaction experience and that opinion has driven all of Yoyo’s creativity.

5) What advice would you give aspiring entrepreneurs who want to make a mobile payment app?

Simple.  Check out www.yoyowallet.com/playground and come along.  You will have all the tech you need to create a fantastic product.  I would encourage that once you have read all the start up books you throw them away.  Your journey will be very different to the theory so be ready to to create your own path.

We would like to thank Michael for speaking with us.