twitter Share YC Application Examples Made by Shizune

Other Applications

Kash YCombinator Application

Kash successful YCombinator application from 2014 summer batch (YC S14).

We are fixing how money works.
Kash is a San Francisco-based mobile payment company that clears transactions without interchange or card fees and is guaranteed against chargeback. The company gets rid of credit cards and middle-men that stand between bank accounts and retailers. It uses SecureDebit technology, a direct bank payment method that avoids the credit card network and allows retailers to save 2% to 5% in transaction processing fees. Kash uses its funding received from Draper Associates, Green Visor Capital, and Structure Capital to develop, market, and expand its mobile payments technology.
Show more


What is your company going to make? Please describe your product and what it does or will do.

More responses

Venmo for Brick & Mortar Retail, not just P2P. Credit card fees are the single biggest pain point for retailers and can eat up to 50% of their profits. With our initial product, we’ve reduced the number of credit card transactions for our retailers by nearly 25%. Regular ACH is slow to clear, so it doesn’t work in retail. To solve this we link bank account and a credit card to user’s phone. Retailers get paid right away after a purchase. If the money is not in user’s account, we put a hold on user’s credit card. Then we collect funds via ACH. If that fails, then we charge the credit card. We make money from retailers. We get users because retailers push our app to avoid credit card fees and because we offer users free P2P transfers and cash back on some purchases.

Where do you live now, and where would the company be based after YC?

More responses

We live in Waterloo and Toronto now. We plan to return to Ontario after YC.


Who writes code, or does other technical work on your product? Was any of it done by a non-founder?

More responses

Yes. We have two employees that work full time on the company. They are both University of Waterloo alumni and DannySu has known them both for over 10 years. All of our code is covered by proper legal agreements. (CanadaKaz is a lawyer.)

How long have the founders known one another and how did you meet? Have any of the founders not met in person?

More responses

Almost three years. GFlarity and DannySu met when they both worked at in 2011. CanadaKaz met the two of them through FounderDating in summer of 2012. We’ve been working together full time since fall of 2012.

Please tell us about an interesting project, preferably outside of class or work, that two or more of you created together.

More responses

Our first start-up idea was a loyalty program that works without requiring cashiers to verify. We took the idea of a RSA token combined with the idea of Foursquare check-ins to produce a device that validates whether someone is really in a store. We built the hardware together beginning from breadboard prototypes to fully enclosed and polished product. We did this so that we could scale to more locations with lower cost. We learned a lot from doing this but ultimately had to do a pivot because it didn’t solve a painful enough problem for retailers. Pictures of the AvidTap box evolution:

Please tell us in one or two sentences about something impressive that each founder has built or achieved.

More responses

CanadaKaz designed Canada’s Startup Visa. Paul Graham once blogged that this policy was “the single biggest thing the government could do to increase the number of startups in the country.” Many people agreed and for nearly a decade people had tried to make it happen. CanadaKaz became interested in the file in early 2012. Less than a year later, it was the law of the land. ( <- proof) ( <- Paul Graham liking CanadaKaz’s marketing campaign) DannySu wrote an app during spare time that got over 150,000 downloads and later bundled with all Huawei C8300 phones GFlarity led the development of a system capable of simulating 20,000+ active electronic traders trading simultaneously on an electronic trading platform.

Please tell us about the time you most successfully hacked some (non-computer) system to your advantage.

More responses

In 2011, I used math to help end the decades-long political disadvantage that my party had among immigrants to Canada. (To use an American comparison, imagine if the majority of the African American community voted for the next Republican candidate for President.) My party had lost 10 out 13 elections since the 60’s because we kept losing the votes of immigrants. In 2011, we reversed that trend, won the immigrant vote, and handed our opposition their biggest defeat in history.


How far along are you?

More responses

We have a retailer-side app and a user side app out on the market now. We are making about $1500 in recurring monthly revenue now. Our revenue is growing at about 30% a month. Our user transactions are growing at 75% a month. Our user-base is growing at 20% a month.

How long have each of you been working on this? How much of that has been full-time?

More responses

We’ve been working on our product for nearly 18 months. We’ve written just over 80,000 lines. We’ve processed 179,156 transactions already.

If you have already participated or committed to participate in an incubator, "accelerator" or "pre-accelerator" program, please tell us about it.

More responses

We participated in HyperDrive out of Communitech in Waterloo, Ontario. The program is run by the same group that advised BufferBox and Thalmic Labs in their early days. HyperDrive gave us $40K in exchange for 7% of the company.


Why did you pick this idea to work on? Do you have domain expertise in this area? How do you know people need what you're making?

More responses

The first product the three of us created was a mobile loyalty solution. It didn’t work. We pivoted to add an Android based point-of-sale with integrated mobile payment app. When this product hit the market, we saw a surprisingly high percentage (8%) of customers paying via our platform. We talked to lots of retailers and realized they were pushing their customers to download our app so they would avoid credit card fees. That’s why we’ve picked this idea. CanadaKaz started working as a retailer when he was in high school at his family’s stores. He is also a former lawyer who has represented banks and is well versed with the regulations around the payment industry. Our dev team is 100% from University of Waterloo. They have 9 patents to their names. They’ve built North America’s first mobile virtual store and operational tools for large banks and financial institutions.

What's new about what you're making? What substitutes do people resort to because it doesn't exist yet (or they don't know about it)?

More responses

We marry the the advantages of ACH (ubiquitous and affordable) and the advantages of credit cards (fast) and put them both in the same product. Our payment system is therefore fast, secure, and affordable. Right now people are using credit cards, e-transfers, and checks. Credit cards tell retailers whether or not they are going to get paid for what they are selling. But in order to work, they require an asset-heavy and insecure process that costs merchants in the US alone $50 billion a year. To the extent innovation has existed, it has been on top of existing credit card networks. Because of these innovations, credit card processing has become faster or more broadly available. But because innovations are on top of an obsolete network, credit card processing has also become more expensive.

Who are your competitors, and who might become competitors? Who do you fear most?

More responses

Venmo (now inside PayPal) is really impressive. As is Dwolla. We are different than both of these companies because we focus primarily on retail transactions. Our goal is to do this live, at retail locations. We don’t fear Visa or MasterCard. We talked to a senior executive at MasterCard and they don’t worry about “interchange busting.” They want to become more mobile, but they see no risk to their existing way of processing transactions. We do worry about Square and PayPal. If they wanted to cannibalized their main revenue source in credit card processing, they could take us out. But that’s a difficult business decision for either of them to make. We do fear Google and Apple. If they get their act together, they could really disrupt the whole industry. Also, if Bitcoins become mainstream and replace government-backed currency, that would destroy the entire market we are aiming to disrupt.

What do you understand about your business that other companies in it just don't get?

More responses

Others are trying to make it easier to accept credit cards or get rid of the physical card. But that whole process is useless. Credit cards work fine. They are just too expensive. Folks working on Bitcoin get it. And we get it. Unlike Bitcoin based businesses, we think government-backed money has redeeming features worth saving. We have spent almost two years talking to retailers. In quick serve restaurants, for example, the average margin for a retailer run between 1 and 4%, and credit card fees often eat up to 1-2% of total revenues. Often, a reduction of fees by 25% would increase the bottom line by 25%. That’s why our existing retailers are pushing their customers to use our app. We have a direct impact on their bottom line.

How do or will you make money? How much could you make?

More responses

Card processing costs US businesses $50 billion each year. Like card processors, we’ll charge a transaction fee. Card processors make a lot of money, but their margins are thin. They can’t reduce fees to compete. Their high fees are caused by the structure of their network. We can charge 1% where they have to charge 2-5%. Assuming our existing engagement rate, we will make $22 million a year once we reach 20,000 retailers. US has 1.1 million retailers. At our existing engagement rate, our total addressable market would be $1.2 billion a year.

How will you get users? If your idea is the type that faces a chicken-and-egg problem in the sense that it won't be attractive to users till it has a lot of users (e.g. a marketplace, a dating site, an ad network), how will you overcome that?

More responses

Right now, retailers prompt users to download our app and 12% of those who walk into our retailers download our app. We are in the process of significantly upgrading our user app. The new app will embed ACH/Credit transactions. Our new, updated app will grow much faster because it embeds P2P transfers which give us both a network effect and a use case outside our retail locations. Users will now have a reason to download and use the app outside stores. We will target users outside stores using Facebook ads. Our initial testing suggests that we’ll be able to acquire users for about $1 per user. We have two channels of attracting retailers now. First, we pay for inbound leads. Second, we have sold our product to enterprise, multi-location retailers who make it mandatory for all their franchisees.


Please list all legal entities you have and in what state or country each was formed (e.g. Delaware C Corp, Mexican SAPI, Singapore Pvt Ltd, etc.).

More responses

We incorporated in Canada in November 2012.

Please describe the breakdown of the equity ownership in percentages among the founders, employees and any other stockholders. If there are multiple founders, be sure to give the equity ownership of each founder and founder title (e.g. CEO).

More responses

The only three shareholders are CanadaKaz , DannySu and Gflarity. We have raised $250K in convertible notes. The majority of these notes have a $3.5 million valuation cap.


Please tell us something surprising or amusing that one of you has discovered.

More responses

Americans, each year, write roughly 25 billion checks. They use their credit cards roughly 22 billion times. While the number of consumer-to-business checks is going down, the number of consumer to consumer checks is going up. American consumers write on average 2.5 billion checks to each other each year.

Get 250+ investors tailored to your startup

  • Invest in your industry and stage
  • Emails & contact info included
  • Excel and CSV export
  • Automatically

Trusted by 3,000+ startups

  • YCombinator
  • techstars
  • antler
  • pioneer
  • OnDeck