When Occupy Wall Street decided to accept donations, the eclectic group of protestors turned to crowdfunding service WePay, which helped Occupy raise over $1 million with its donation tool across hundreds of campaigns.
But WePay isn’t interested in individual campaigns anymore.
Basic tools represent WePay’s legacy business, CEO Bill Clerico told VentureBeat. WePay’s primary focus now is providing services to other crowdfunding sites through its API.
It’s a narrower scope than e-commerce, but one that has paid off for the payments startup, which is processing an average 648 percent more crowdfunding volume every month than in 2012 — or up to $1.5 million daily.
“I don’t think the market realizes how big we are from a volume perspective,” WePay CEO Bill Clerico told VentureBeat. “A lot of people are paying attention to Braintree and Stripe, but I think we’re in the same league from a size perspective.”
There’s a big gap in overall volume between WePay and eBay-owned Braintree, which reportedly processes more than $12 billion annually, but WePay is demonstrating strong growth in the crowdfunding market, where it powers platforms like Fundly, Fundable, and GoFundMe. Since WePay nabbed its first crowdfunding API partner in Oct. 2011, the payments startup has averaged 35 percent monthly growth in crowdfunding payments processing.
“We’ve been adding more and more partners, which helps us grow, and all those partners are growing,” said Clerico.
The company already powers six of the top 15 crowdfunding platforms, with a seventh major partnership in the works, Clerico added. And the crowdfunding industry is on track to nearly double in size this year, according to a Massolution research report, which bodes well for WePay.
The company’s message to platforms is pretty simple: “We understand crowdfunding.” If an account jumps from zero to a million dollars in a week, that won’t necessarily raise red flags at WePay (like it might for PayPal, which is currently overhauling its policies to play nice with crowdfunding).
“In crowdfunding, that’s not abnormal, and WePay’s fraud detection accounts for that,” said Clerico. “There’s really no other payments company that’s built a crowdfunding speciality.”
Not that WePay doesn’t want to enter the e-commerce market: It already has a few marketplace partners, like custom furniture store CustomMade, and hopes to keep expanding in that area. But for the foreseeable future, WePay will continue to devote most of its energy to the crowdfunding market.
WePay is headquartered in Palo Alto and currently has 50 employees.
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