Legal: Spare CS, Inc
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Founder(s): D’ontra Hughes, Michele Sconiers
Social Media: 4211 followers on Instagram, 3102 followers on Twitter, 186 followers on LinkedIn
INDUSTRY – Fintech
Size: $127.66 billion in 2018
Projections: $309.98 billion at an annual growth rate of 24.8% through 2022 (Source)
Spare is a mobile ATM network that turns any merchant cash register into an ATM. Customers can order cash via their mobile phones by downloading the Spare app on their phone and will be redirected to the nearest merchants registered on Spare to collect cash without using a debit or credit card. Merchants with idle cash in their registers can increase footfalls to their stores while also earning a commission by dispensing cash to Spare customers.
Spare is a mobile application designed to benefit both users as well as the merchants. Using the app, one can access cash without the need for a debit or a credit card. On the other hand, merchants can make money from dispensing idle cash to users, and benefit from increased footfalls and improved sales.
Spare users need to download the app and register before placing the request for cash. The digital balance available to the user in their banks is the extent to which they can access cash through the app. Using GPS, the Spare app leads the customer to the nearest registered merchant. The customer needs to show the pin generated by the app to the merchant to confirm their identity and receive cash. Users can dispense the need to carry plastic cards and instead use their mobile phones to access cash at lower costs than bank convenience fees.
Spare for merchants helps shops earn money from idle cash in their registers. Instead of paying banks to manage their money, Spare pays them per transaction for dispensing funds to its users. Merchants registered on Spare benefit from increased footfalls to their store and increased revenue. Additionally, by dispensing extra cash, stores can reduce the liability that comes from holding large sums of money in the tills.
The app enables users to access cash by digitally transferring funds from their bank accounts directly to the merchant’s account using just a smartphone.
Origin and Founding Team
D’ontra Hughes and Michele Sconiers founded Spare in 2013. Hughes, CEO of Spare, is an entrepreneur with experience across diverse fields, including operations, finance, and business development. Sconiers, the Chief Operating Officer at Spare, is a startup consultant and investor. She possesses over 15 years of operations experience and is also the co-founder of a London-based startup, FutureCrowd. Sconiers has also previously worked as a practicing corporate attorney and has had a stint in the investment banking industry early during her career.
Hughes came up with the idea for Spare when he was working at a hotel bar. The bar and hotel had no ATM, and customers without cash often had to cross the street to withdraw cash and then return to pay. The ATM nearby, more often than not, was of a different Bank that levied customers higher convenience fees for every withdrawal. Hughes realized that it would have been easier if the bar could provide cash to its customers and envisioned how a tool for such transactions could have a huge impact on an even larger scale. He conceptualized Spare to transform cash dispensing and offer a cost-effective, secure, and convenient solution that fits in a user’s pocket to access cash.
Leveraging the rapid adoption of mobile phones and smart devices to perform financial transactions, Hughes built a mobile application that challenges the traditional Bank ATM ecosystem. Recently, the revolutionary app was pitched on the famous television show Shark Tank and received funding of $500K from serial entrepreneur Mark Cuban.
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