Divi Up- Startup that Makes Managing Shared Expenses Easier
Divi Up is a social payments app that enables users to establish digital cash pools, where they can invite trusted friends and family to pool together funds for shared expenses. CBW had an interview with Nana Goguadze, co-founder of Divi Up.
"My co-founder Nick Piccirillo and I met during our entrepreneurship class at New York University Stern Business School. Many of us have experienced problems associated with group payments, and with a clear understanding of the issue, Nick presented his solution to the class. I was impressed with his proposal for a very familiar and painful problem and, therefore, I decided to reach out to him. We have fully utilized the time that pandemic has given us to conduct market research, customer interviews, and construct mockups. Just recently, we have welcomed our third co-founder Alex Vorobyev, who leads our technology department. We’ve formed a great team that is dedicated to simplifying group payments for friends and family".
Divi Up is a social payments app that enables users to establish digital cash pools, where they can invite trusted friends and family to pool together funds for shared expenses. When a group is created, members are prompted to evenly contribute to the cash pool and receive a digital card number to pay for shared expenses directly. So, for example, when users split the cost of a vacation, each expense is charged to the cash pool and is visible to all members of the group.
Finally, when users close the cash pool, the remaining funds are evenly redistributed to each member of the group, ensuring a fair and simple division, so you can forget finances and enjoy the experience.
How does Divi Up change the traditional banking services and what is the most competitive advantage of it?
Divi Up bridges the gap between managing finances and relationships. Historically, most people are private when it comes to their personal finances—it’s just something we keep to ourselves—so when spending comes into contact with our social sphere, people tend to get uncomfortable. As we see it, banking has traditionally offered helpful solutions for the individual, but Divi Up is looking to harmoniously integrate banking services with our social lives. Our team feels that if we can simplify the process of splitting shared expenses, then
consumers will naturally increase spending and engage in richer, more fulfilling social interactions.
As for a competitive advantage, many apps act as ‘payment calculators’ and track debts between friends. However, these apps require users to manually input data such as the name of the
expense, the price of it, and who paid for it, before it calculates out everyone’s debt. After that, groups need to turn to Peer-to-Peer payment apps to settle their debts. Overall, it creates an inefficient process, but Divi Up combines both processes while increasing transparency and security.
What is the current stage of development for the platform and what are your next steps for it?
My team and I surveyed more than 100 participants (18-25 age group) who indicated that the three main inconveniences associated with shared expenses are: the risk of getting paid back late or never at all, ensuring the payment is split fairly, and calculating how much money each person owes. Our survey also revealed that 83% of participants were likely to use a service that allows users to split purchases among groups of people in under one minute. Therefore, we are confident in having a huge user base in the United States as well as in Georgia.
In terms of the investors, we pitched our business concept on our demo day to about 15 angel investors and VC representatives. Our team has received a lot of positive feedback since then and as we finalize our product we plan to participate in various business pitching events to attract needed investment.
"Currently, we are at the prototype stage, finalizing our app to start Beta testing. The testing aims to allow testers to manipulate with features to uncover any bugs. As of now, our primary location for business operations in the United States, however, we plan to expand rapidly in Georgia and afterward in other European countries as well. When the testing phase is over, which will help us to simplify UI/UX according to the user feedback, we will have a full-scale launch of Divi Up".
We aim to attract 10,000 users in the first six months of the launch. We have already created a waitlist on our website (www.diviup.us) for our potential customers to try out our app as soon as it is available and, thus far, the engagement level is exceeding our expectations.
What kind of investments have you attracted so far and what investments are you planning to attract shortly?
As of now, all of our costs have been financed through our resources. Nonetheless, we maintain active communication with the New York University Entrepreneurship Lab and, therefore, through participating in their programs we plan to attract VC investment soon. Moreover, we are following GITA’s initiatives in Georgia as well and we plan to apply for available grants. Also, we are interested in applying for the Georgian Women in Tech initiative to promote the idea of Georgian women being involved in the FinTech industry.