THE developers of a new mobile payments system are launching a £1 million crowdfunding campaign in a bid to get it to market.
Comcarde, founded by former decorator Jim Goodman, has developed an app to enable people to use their mobile phones to make instant payments via a direct bank-to-bank transfer.
The Bridge payment system, which has been under development for about four years since beginning life in Inverness, involves a code which means no personal or financial information is shared during transactions.
Having tested the system with customers at a central belt restaurant and obtained an e-money licence from the Financial Conduct Authority, the start-up company is now keen to move to the next stage to get the app on to the market.
It hopes to raise £1 million through a crowdfunding platform, Growthdeck, which specialises in seeking investors to provide a minimum £1000 investment for fledgling companies.
Mr Goodman, who lives in Beauly, said financial technology – or fintech – was a huge sector in London where millions of pounds were being invested. The sector was now taking off in Edinburgh.
“We have had to go all over the country to get the system to this stage,” Mr Goodman said. “I think it is amazing that a company like this with no infrastructure to speak of, has managed to get it to the point of launch.
“I think it shows that no matter where you live, from a small idea you can make it happen.”
Mr Goodman gave up his previous decorating job at the end of 2012 to concentrate full time on his vision to create a mobile payments system to challenge other global names such as PayPal.
His aim was to invent a straightforward and secure payments system which was the electronic version of a cheque or £10 note.
Neira Jones, the former director of payment security for Barclaycard, is now on the board.
Stagecoach founder Ann Gloag has previously served as a director as well as investing £1 million while other previous directors include Belladrum festival founder Joe Gibbs and Inverness publican Kit Fraser.
In the early stages, the company secured funding totalling £140,000 from Highlands and Islands Enterprise and a £360,000 research and development award from Scottish Enterprise’s Smart programme.
There has been further investment from private backers.
Mr Goodman said although the company had to go to the central belt for the development phase because the expertise did not exist in the Highlands, the long-term plan has always been to create support roles in the Highlands once it has been launched.
Mr Goodman said the system had been designed so that the database protected each individual’s identity with its own security locked to a customer’s device so stealing the database without the user’s phone was pointless.
He also said that during transactions, no financial or personal details were shared so stealing any messages would be a waste of time.
“From our point of view, it has always been about creating something which protects customers and which protects businesses,” Mr Goodman said.