We are a credit card processing solution bridging the gap for businesses that are too big for Square and too small for big banks. Think Doctor’s offices, dry cleaners and local retailers.
Who are the key members of your team?
- Norah Hazelgrowth, Chief Client officer
- Kristen Potter, Head of Inside Sales
- Britton Armstrong, Head of Operations
- Sam Verba, Customer Support
- Ned Freeman, Chief Marketing Officer
- Tim Ryan, CEO and founder
How do you differentiate yourself from competition?
We use AI to determine what is the right fit for the client. There is no contract, frictionless signup, open hardware platform and simple fees. Now we are building a solution that shows businesses in 15 seconds that they can save on average 30% on credit card processing fees when switching to us.
We bring the best of two worlds: (1) The ability to use any hardware with (2) the frictionless onboarding and simple fees.
What is your target market?
Though we have many customers larger than this, we primarily help Main Street businesses with revenue in the range of $150k and $5 million that currently accept credit cards.
Businesses this size are very underserved. Square is built for smaller businesses and banks charge businesses that do less than $5 million in annual revenue six times more in credit card processing fees than what large companies pay for the exact same transactions. Even worse is the experience. Most solutions are hardware specific, so you have to change your point of sale system in order to change your credit card processing, which means sitting down for hours with sales reps to get set up. We make the process frictionless while providing better fees.
Where can customers buy your product?
They can give us a call and we help them get set up. Come January, they can come to our website.
What trends do you see in the market?
More and more business owners don’t have time to meet with sales reps. They want expert service on their own time and their terms. They want to know more but also want answers at their fingertips. For us at Blueswipe, it’s all about the way we deliver our solution - convenient, transparent and customer-oriented.
Why did you choose RVA to launch your company?
Richmond is very much a shop-local environment. We love that culture, but most payment processors are from out of state. We want to bring the shop local experience to Richmond by supporting the local economy, driven by local businesses.
What’s your background?
I’ve been in payments for eleven years. I started my first payments company when I was 21 out of my apartment. It grew to six employees working out of our downtown office; that’s where I started to see the market deficiencies first hand (see above).
What has shaped you as an entrepreneur to date?
Having started a business at a young age, I remember feeling like it was “Me against the world”. Because I was young and just starting out nobody really wanted to give me the time of day. It’s one of the reasons why I wanted to create a product that could help other local businesses that were struggling to get good offers and opportunities because they were not big enough just like I couldn’t. Business is tough, but when you find people and vendors that are willing to get behind you as you grow, it really makes a difference.
Tell us about a recent win in your company you are excited about!
We had dozens of local companies starting to use our service which is fantastic.
One thing that has been new is how the investment community is catching on to it. Investors are starting to realize the impact we are having which opens up more opportunities to help more businesses.
Describe your Lighthouse experience so far.
How to better explain our business to people who aren’t familiar with the industry... Having been part of the accelerator, we have made so many valuable connections that we can tap back into. There is always someone willing to hop on the phone and grab coffee when we need something and that’s invaluable to us.
What is one specific need that we as a community can help you with right now?
Getting the word out about Blueswipe. Many local businesses still haven’t heard about us. Mention us to a friend that runs a local business!
What books do you recommend for budding entrepreneurs?
- Rich dad poor dad, Robert Kiyosaki
- Think and Grow Rich, Napoleon Hill
- The Entrepreneur Rollercoaster by Dan Harvey
- Zero to one million, Ryan Allis