Posted: April 4th, 2013 | Author: Aulia Masna | Filed under: acquisition, billmonk, BillPin, darius cheng, News | Comments Off
Earlier today The Next Web reported that Singapore-based bill-splitting startup BillPin has acquired BillMonk, its largest and perhaps oldest competitor. BillMonk had been one of the longest serving sites which provide a way for people to easily keep track of group expenses and lends, having been founded in 2005. BillPin itself is only six months old. Most Indonesians might not be aware of both these companies but they certainly address a need that’s commonly found anywhere and the acquisition itself is an interesting move.
BillPin was launched in February of this year to help people manage group or shared expenses. For a brand new service that’s bootstrapped with minimal outside funding to acquire a seven year old competitor with 50 times the customer base is unheard of, but the situations surrounding this acquisition would explain few things.
First of all, BillMonk which was based in the US, was acquired by Obopay, an Indian mobile finance company, in 2007. At that time, BillMonk had been receiving a significant amount of press with a rapidly growing customer base. Three years later, its co-founders, Gaurav Oberoi and Chuck Groom, joined SurveyMonkey and the BillMonk service stalled. While customers kept using the service in growing numbers, the resources at Obopay were stretched to support BillMonk. Its website was neglected, bugs and issues were left unaddressed, the company blog was abandoned, the site kept failing to load, and people began to seek alternatives.
Darius Cheung, BillPin’s co-founder spoke to DailySocial about the acquisition. Cheung said that BillPin he started building BillPin last year because BillMonk was pretty much breaking apart in 2012. “That was actually the reason BillPin got started – to build a better one, and we did – BillPin is a fast, stable and a great UX as an alternative to BillMonk”.
Cheung and his friends had been avid users of BillMonk and wanted to create an alternative that’s much more modern and more manageable. Although BillMonk never had a mobile app, BillPin offered mobile apps from the very beginning. “While BillPin is available as a good alternative, there are a lot of BillMonk users who are not aware of the alternative and needs a smooth migration path to a new service. So we talked to Obopay and we both thought that BillMonk users would find a better home with us, and we came to an agreement to acquire BillMonk”, said Cheung.
The acquisition brings BillMonk’s entire customer base, customer data, infrastructure, and other assets into BillPin but no Obopay engineers or other employees will make the move to BillPin according to TechCrunch. This deal was essentially done to make sure that existing BillMonk customers continue to be able to use the service, albeit in a slightly different form. Starting today, BillMonk customers are being asked to transfer their accounts to BillPin and adopt the new service from then on. BillMonk itself will be shutdown soon.
TechCrunch said that BillPin currently has about 5000 users, and Cheung said that BillMonk easily has 50 times more users, which gives BillPin’s potential immediate user base of at least 250,000, provided every single one of them migrates to BillPin.
Jumping from 5000 to 250,000 in a short period would be a pretty big undertaking but Cheung seems pretty confident about taking them on board. “From a company stand point, while we believe we built a great product and are growing quite fast organically, the user base BillMonk has acquired over 7 years is much larger than ours and we are happy to continue to support a much larger base of users”.
While BillMonk was often used as a way to manage split bills at the restaurant, it also allowed people to keep track of people who borrowed your things. Despite the complete customer migration though, this service will not be carried over to BillPin. “We also took time to analyze the usage on BillMonk’s data – it turns out that non-financial items such as books and DVDs consist of less than 1% of the transactions, so we have decided to not support that function in BillPin. However, BillMonk users can always access their historic BillMonk data in their BillPin account once they are linked”, said Cheung.
As for BillPin’s competitors, Cheung said, “there’s a pretty big difference between having a BillMonk data import function and completely inheriting it – for one as a social product, we can help all of the friends within one group move over easily because we are enabling every user in that group to migrate over without manually having every user import their data”.
Posted: April 3rd, 2013 | Author: Jacky Yap | Filed under: acqusition, billmonk, BillPin, featured, Investments & Acquisitions, mobile, News, Obopay, Singapore, Singapore Startup, southeast asia, Startups | Comments Off
Singapore-based bill sharing app BillPin has just announced its acquisition of BillMonk, its main competitor.
Launched more than six months ago, BillPin is founded by Darius Cheung, commonly known for exiting his previous company tenCube to McAfee. The startup announced today that it acquired BillMonk, a similar service founded back in 2005 which was bought by Obopay in 2007. The acquisition from Obopay is for an undisclosed amount.
When asked how many users does BillMonk and BillPin has, Darius was unable to disclose much.
“Here’s what I can say, we are quite happy with BillPin’s growth over the last six months, we’ve been averaging nine percent week-on-week growth (almost hitting Paul Graham’s magical number). But our base is no where near what BillMonk has accumulated over time, what we are shooting for is to be able to turn on the growth factor on BillMonk’s large base, which is probably more than 50 times our user base,” he said.
Read also: BillPin introduces mobile web app, promises Android app soon
Further interview questions with Darius about the acquisition are as follows.
Why did BillPin acquire BillMonk? Pure user acquisition exercise?
First and foremost, we want to be able to provide a new home for BillMonk users, but beyond that, we believe the assets such as the seven years of usage data would be incredibly valuable and interesting too. With the largest user base, we will focus on delivering the best experience and innovation in making group expenses easy and fun to track.
How did you come about the opportunity of acquiring BillMonk from Obopay?
We reached out and gave it a shot and turns out we were in the right window of opportunity. It might be worth noting that we first reached to Carol Realini, the ex-CEO of Obopay (the company that bought BillMonk), relatively easily since she was a JFDI mentor. The Singapore-Silicon Valley network is definitely growing and I think we will see more cross-border activities in time to come.
How do you know you could acquire them from Obopay?
We didn’t, we gave it a try. Turns out it was right time right place and we pull one hell of a hustle to get it done.
The acquisition means a lot for the local ecosystem. Darius and his team managed to put Singapore on the international scene again through the acquisition, a bold move by a Singapore based startup which has yet to monetize from its users. Does the acquisition makes sense? With PayPal discontinuing their personal payments in Singapore back in February, this definitely opens up opportunities for BillPin to leverage on. With the acquisition of BillMonk, existing BillMonk users would have a new “home” with a dedicated team behind them.
Read also: BillPin launched by ex-tenCube cofounder to track shared expenses. The start of an Asian PayPal Mafia?
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Posted: April 3rd, 2013 | Author: Terence LEE | Filed under: acquisitions, billmonk, BillPin, Companies, News, Singapore, United States | Comments Off
Bill, meet Bill.
At one point, BillMonk was right up there as the most popular social billing apps in the world. Recently however, it has been suffering from neglect and experienced plenty of downtime. As is always the case with derelict apps (see Google Reader), flummoxed users had to go through the inconvenience of exporting their data and switching over to a more reliable service.
BillMonk users may now have reason to cheer. Today, Singapore’s BillPin, a six-month-old social billing app, announced that it has acquired BillMonk from Obopay, which purchased the company way back in 2007.
The acquisition, made at an undisclosed sum, includes BillMonk’s user base, infrastructure, source code, and related intellectual property rights.
Here’s the most important bit for BillMonk fans: the app will cease to exist by 30 April. However, according to BillPin co-founder Darius Cheung, existing user data from BillMonk has been imported into the younger social billing service, which means previous BillMonk users who want to switch over to the new app won’t have to go through the hassle of transferring the data themselves.
Compared to Google Reader’s demise and the resulting controversy, this is perhaps a better way of closing down a service: Offer users a lifeline, rather than leaving them out to dry.
The data migration is certainly a huge time saver for loyal users, and not exactly a surprising move since BillPin has been offering backup services for the older app.
Darius believes the social billing space has much more room for growth.
“I am a loyal BillMonk user for last seven years — I can’t think of many web products from seven years ago that I am still using today. Though I do believe BillMonk may not have lived up to its full potential due to premature acquisition and founders’ departure, we will see how we can take a whack at that,” he said.
As such, BillMonk users can be assured that the new caretakers are committed to the vision of making social debt settlements more fluid, at least while the company can sustain itself.
While BillPin remains simple feature-wise, Darius’ team is working on easier ways to capture group expenses and gather better intelligence and analysis of that data.
On the business front, the move is clearly beneficial for BillPin, an app with a smaller userbase but one that has been increasing at 9 percent week-on-week over the last six months in terms of registered users. This acquisition will certainly accelerate its growth and help it gain traction into the United States.
While the ability for existing users to switch to another app with their data intact should prove to be a huge draw – there’s the question of how serious was the exodus out of BillMonk in its months of neglect, which would leave BillPin with a reduced but still significant pool of users to tap on.
“In the long term, we have to win as a product, not just because it’s an easier migration, and we are confident of that. I think we already deliver the best experience today; the data transfer is just a red carpet,” said Darius.
Some questions remain with regards to the negotiation process — as a young startup, BillPin doesn’t have a lot of reserves to draw on to make a large acquisition.
So I do wonder about BillMonk’s actual userbase as well as Obopay’s current health and its level of enthusiasm in getting rid of its BillPin assets, which are of course weighed in terms of opportunity costs.
Whatever the circumstances were surrounding the negotiations, BillPin believes that it got, in Darius’ words, “one hell of a deal”.
The post Singapore’s BillPin acquires BillMonk, plans to shut it down and migrate user data over appeared first on SGE.
Posted: January 22nd, 2013 | Author: Guest | Filed under: BillPin, Events, michael cheng, microsoft, Microsoft Azure, mig33, News, Rockmoon Singapore, Ruiwen Chua, sent.ly, Singapore, southeast asia, varun chatterji, Winston Khoo | Comments Off
Ruiwen Chua, developer at BillPin, recaps key highlights from last year’s Azure Xmas Workshop.
With the holiday season round the corner and 2012 just coming to a close, members of the tech community in Singapore were treated to the Azure Xmas Workshop — an evening of learning about Azure, made only more enjoyable with the on-coming Christmas cheer and the upcoming holiday season.
With three well-respected speakers in the tech scene, attendees of the Azure Xmas Workshop took part in an evening filled with useful tips on how they could make Microsoft Azure work for them, be it in their work, or professional projects.
Michael Cheng, senior software engineer at social entertainment platform, mig33 kicked off the evening with an introduction to his very own open source project, PHP-Queue. Put simply, PHP-Queue is “a unified front-end for different queuing backends”, that helps developers to manage communication between components of their application. What’s great about PHP-Queue is that it manages to abstract away the differences in the myriad different cloud queueing/messaging systems, freeing you up to concentrate on more mission critical code.
Next up was Varun Chatterji from text messaging startup, Sent.ly . Sent.ly allows any company or organisation to very easily send and receive SMSes from users. Once the domain of only richer companies who could afford their own SMS gateways, Sent.ly brings the accessibility of SMS communication to the masses with just a simple web service and a smart phone app.
Introducing the audience to how Microsoft’s Visual Studio tools helped him manage Sent.ly’s backend architecture, Varun demonstrated how Visual Studio’s deep integration with the Azure cloud platform made managing the system, along with testing and deploying the application, a piece of cake.
The final speaker of the day was Winston Khoo, software engineer at Rockmoon Singapore. With Rockmoon recently expanding into Thailand with Trail Shuttle, their learning journey application for schools, Winston shared important tips on how to Rockmoon ensured that their servers on Azure stayed stable through the increased load. Naturally, as a company that develops software that schools rely on to conduct their lessons, being able to provide a stable, and secure service is something that is of key concern to the engineers at Rockmoon.
It was past 10pm by the time the audience finally left the venue, with some even staying behind to chat and find out more about the available technology and upcoming events. And while this might have been the last community Azure event in Singapore for 2012, it most certainly isn’t going to be the last for a while yet, as Microsoft continues to drive the Azure platform into the waiting hands of the community.
Speakers, organisers, and sponsors from left to right: Michael Cheng, Ruiwen Chua, Varun Chatterji, Winston Khoo and Yap Neng Giin.
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Posted: January 18th, 2013 | Author: Gwendolyn Regina T | Filed under: Aileen Sim, app, BillPin, darius cheung, Funding, investments, mobile, News | Comments Off
One of Singapore’s local tech startup heroes, Darius Cheung launched his second startup, Billpin last year. BillPin lies in the social money management space and enables friends to track their shared expenses to figure out who owes whom how much, so that there are less embarrassing moments of badgering friends for monies owed.
The young startup just announced the launch of their Android app, to extend the OS universe in which they play in. Their iOS version was launched back in August 2012. In addition, the less-than-a-year-old startup just raised a seed round of 40K USD with Singapore’s NUS Enterprise and government under the iJAM investment-grant scheme.
We’ve been hoping for an in-app payment solution from the team, but looks like the feature will still be in the making for a while longer.
BillPin is a team of 5 that includes four others that have also had experiences with startups: Saurabh Mandar of tenCube, now McAfee (together with Darius); Aileen Sim of FirstMeta (bank for virtual economies); Ruiwen Chua of Remember (that was one of the 11 startups under startup incubator, JFDI.asia); and Anuj Bheda of Chalkboard.
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Posted: January 18th, 2013 | Author: Jacky Yap | Filed under: BillPin, darius cheung, i.JAM, Interative Digital Media, Investments & Acquisitions, mobile, NUS Enterprise, Singapore, southeast asia, Startups | Comments Off
BillPin, a mobile app that helps you keep track of shared bills and expenses with your friends, has just closed a seed round under the iJam scheme. They are currently incubated under NUS Enterprise.
According to the BillPin blog post, the team has recently closed a seed round under the iJam scheme (Tier 1), offered by Interactive Digital Media.
“The BillPin Pinchos are very grateful for the fantastic support from our local ecosystem and are happy to be joining the iJam and NUS family again.”
When reached out for comments, founder Darius Cheung whom previously exited his company tenCube to McAfee shared that the funding landscape is very much different now than when he first started the mobile security company a few years back.
“The landscape is definitely dramatically different: it’s very easy to get the first S$50,000 angel-round funding from grants and other sources, and if you do a good job, that gives you a reasonable chance for the S$600,000 seed round because of the TIS funds.
The world is entirely different for us when we were doing tenCube a few years ago: we really struggled to find funding – I’d even I spent half my time and energy in scraping together cash-flow sources to keep the company alive during the first few years of tenCube.
That said, as of now, it would seem there is a gap in Series A (S$1-3 million) level funding, which is not just a Singapore-centric phenomena – the Series-A-Crunch is happening in Silicon Valley too. So the wise thing to do would be for startups to figure out how to really be solid (or profitable) by the end of the seed round.”
BillPin was launched back in June 2012, and recently shipped out their Android app for Android users.
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Posted: January 16th, 2013 | Author: Jacky Yap | Filed under: android, BillPin, darius cheung, mobile, Singapore, Singapore startups, southeast asia, tencube | Comments Off
BillPin, a mobile app that helps keep track of shared expenses, is now available on Android.
Launched back in June, BillPin is a mobile app that aims to help keep track of shared expenses and bills among friends. The company was founded by Darius Cheung, who exited his previous company tenCube to McAfee. The app was initially launched exclusively to iOS users. The team then shipped out a mobile web app as there was a growing demand from Android users.
When we spoke to Darius previously, he shared that “the main issue we were trying to solve was accessibility for Android users. Many of our early (iPhone) users feedback is that they cannot use it effectively since half of their friends are on Android”.
With the Android version now available, users can download the app directly from Google Play and use it with their friends.
The team is currently working on a new release for February.
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Posted: October 18th, 2012 | Author: Jacky Yap | Filed under: BillPin, Blk71, Carousell, Events, icarsclub, lovebyte, mda, NUS Enterprise, plug-in@blk71, sent.ly, Singapore, singapore coworking space, Singtel Innov8, southeast asia, Startup Grind | Comments Off
Plug-In@Blk71, one of Singapore’s most popular coworking space, is organizing a block party on the first week of November. Blk71, which is located at 71 Ayer Rajah Crescent, is managed by NUS Enterprise. It is also supported by the Media Development Authority (MDA) and SingTel Innov8. The main activity of Blk71 happens at Plug-In@Blk71, which serves as...
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Posted: October 12th, 2012 | Author: Jacky Yap | Filed under: BillPin, Events, NUS Business School, playmoolah, S@S, Singapore, Singapore Startup, southeast asia, Startup at Singapore, Startups, tencube | Comments Off
Start-up@Singapore is set for October 19, and will again feature a panel of successful entrepreneurs from the country. Start-up@Singapore is one of the biggest business plan competitions in the country . Launched in 1999 and now in its fourteenth year, Start-Up@Singapore has attracted more than 3,000 teams and 9,000 participants, both local as well as international....
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Posted: September 17th, 2012 | Author: Jacky Yap | Filed under: Aileen Sim, app, BillPin, Chalkboard, Chua Ruiwen, darius cheung, jfdi, mobile, News, PayPal, PEOPLE, product, Remember, Ruiwen Chua, Singapore, southeast asia, Startups, tencube | Comments Off
BillPin, a mobile app that helps keep track of shared expenses founded by Darius Cheung, shipped out a new feature over the weekend. The app is now available across all mobile web and you can access it on your mobile browser. Launched early last month, BillPin was available only on the Apple App Store. While...
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