News & Analysis

US group payments startup Tilt launches in Australia following US$67 million raise

- April 26, 2016 3 MIN READ

Silicon Valley group payments startup Tilt has launched in Australia following a US$67 million raise from Facebook’s founding president Sean Parker and VC firm Andreessen Horowitz. After growth in the US, Canada, UK and France, Tilt has now launched out of beta and is available to all Australian users.

Since launch in the US in 2012, cofounders James Beshara and Khaled Hussein have watched the company grow at more than 41 percent month on month, becoming popular on university campuses in particular thanks to its social and mobile approach to payments.

Tilt allows users to contribute and collect money for anything from birthday presents, weddings, holidays, and charitable causes. The whole process takes place via the mobile app where users can invite up to 2,000 friends to start collecting money. It has been adopted by students wishing to raise money for social events and on-campus activities.

Where apps like Venmo allow users to easily split the cost of dinner, for example, or rent, Tilt was first founded on the idea of funding non-charity ventures and creating a platform that was open to anyone and everyone as a shared resource for collective action.

Beshara said he has always been interested in the power of groups and collective action and, after building dvelo.org in the nonprofit space in South Africa, he said he saw potential in other fundraising spaces and wanted to harness the power of the millennials.

Tim Ryan, head of international at Tilt, said Australia was identified as the startup’s next launch market because of the market’s early adoption of new technologies.

After a successful 2015 launching in the UK, Nordics and France, we knew that Australia would be a great community because of its high smartphone penetration and their reputation for being early adopters of innovative technology,” he said.

Through its Australian beta, Tilt collected an average of $185 with the help of four contributors. Once a campaign is started people type a quick description of how much they want to raise and why and then add a group of friends. Once the goal is reached the campaign ‘tilts’ and the funds are deposited directly into the user’s bank account. There are no fees for payment collection and organisers can add in social features like photos and gifs to encourage people to chip in.

More than 70 percent of Aussie users have created Tilt accounts through the iOS or Android app, showing the popularity of phone usage among students. Since October last year, Tilt has received over 1,000 applications from students who want to join the Australian Ambassador Program to help fundraise for nonprofits.

Tilt is now one of the highest rated on iTunes and has seen over 500,000 groups pool funds. In the US, Tilt is top three fastest growing apps on college campuses.

Tilt serves two market segments, consumers and businesses. For consumers the app is free to use and for businesses a 2.5 percent revenue fee is charged for raising funds and selling their community online.

“Tilt provides a simple way for brands to gauge interest on a new product, secure sales before any production costs, and have no excess inventory afterwards. Best of all, the social sharing capabilities we’ve built into the tool enable their current customers or fans to help them find new ones. Businesses on tilt is something that we’re seeing ramp up big time right now and you’ll hear a lot more about in the upcoming months,” said Ryan.

Tilt is looking towards New Zealand for its next launch, with Ryan explaining the next 12 months will see the Tilt team look at strategic growth strategies to also expand its footprint in existing markets.

Image: James Beshara and Khaled Hussein. Source: Supplied