Imagine this scenario: Your babysitter needs $40 so she can pay for a taxi home, but you spent all your cash at dinner.
A company called Akimbo has developed a solution to this type of problem. The founders claim to have created the first free and instant “money transfer network” that is an alternative to services like PayPal or Venmo.
“The real benefit of the Akimbo card is that you can get money to someone straight away,” co-founder and CEO Houston Frost (pictured above) told me. Frost’s team of 12 is focused on developing a payments system for consumers — primarily families — but the company hopes to offer small businesses a viable alternative to the corporate credit card.
On Akimbo, create up to five “sub-cards” with any name. Once you’ve handed over one of these reloadable Visa cards to a family member, friend, or babysitter, you can send them money with just a few taps on your iPhone. Cardholders can send money from a card balance or from any linked bank account with an email, Facebook post, or text message.
The recipient needs to sign up to receive an Akimbo Card in the mail, but transferring funds to an external bank account is also an option. Cardholders can use an Akimbo card anywhere that Visa debit cards are accepted.
Sharing money with friends is currently free, but Akimbo may consider levying an enrollment fee in the future.
Austin, Tx. based Akimbo aims to be a full service bank account alternative, and currently offers direct deposit capabilities, transfers to and from other bank accounts, and bill pay functionality.
The company has raised a total of $1.3 million from angel investors, and will close an institutional round in the coming months.
Check out the video below for more info. Would you use an Akimbo card? Let us know in the comments section.
Like this story? Want to learn more? On April 14-15, our fourth annual VentureBeat Mobile Summit will tackle the six biggest growth opportunities in mobile today. The invitation-only Summit will gather the top 180 executives at the scenic Cavallo Point Resort in Sausalito, Calif., to discuss issues like this. Request an invitation.