After launching in Canada just over a year ago, Tilt, like any company launching in its first international market, was focused on ensuring that its group payment product was running as smoothly as possible. But according to Tilt CEO and co-founder Jim Beshara, Canada wasn’t completely satisfied with the product as is; Tilt constantly dealt with requests to add a one-to-one P2P payment option.
“Canada was our first international market and it’s still our biggest international market, and so we listen very closely to what Canadians are doing with the product,” said Beshara. “Our head of product looked at the stats, and about 20 percent of usage in the month of December was one to one payments. People were using group space product and bending it to use for one-to-one payments.”
Today, Tilt announced that it’s finally enabling P2P payments in Canada. Through the new Request and Send feature — which is made for quick exchanges of smaller amounts of money between two people — Tilt will automatically transfers funds to accounts for banks to process within two days, and give users the ability to request money internationally. Payments are free for both debit and Mastercard.
“Here in the U.S., we have things like PayPal and Venmo, and we thought, we need to know how to make our product as good as possible when it comes to groups and money — yet each month we still kept getting the request [for P2P payments],” said Beshara.
As Canada’s financial ecosystem tends to rely on the big five banks, Tilt saw an opportunity to disrupt a market that’s been otherwise slow to adopt mobile payments. Despite Tilt’s impressive numbers in Canada — Canadians reportedly collect money every 22 seconds on Tilt — the push to move north was actually thanks to Canadians working at Tilt who understood the market.
“A lot of our team members, even in here San Francisco, are Canadian. And our head of analytics Jackson Wang is Canadian, and he just kept saying, ‘there is no good payments app outside of banks; there’s no fun social payments app, so we’ve got to get to Canada as quickly as possible. We’re going kill it in Canada,” said Beshara. “I wish I could be more data-centric than that, but it that voice in our team meetings.”
The company timed the release in time for the school year, as university students are a key demographic for the company which Beshara credits to the platform’s “social layer”. With Tilt, users can add emojis and gifs to messages as they collect money for group events like restaurant bills and cab bills. The company reports that it’s growing 41 percent month over month on college campuses globally.
“A lot of it stems from the DNA of the company — it’s always been a social first, payments second type of DNA,” said Beshara. “Ever since the beginning, it’s been about that social layer. So it became very natural to allow people to drop in images, emojis, and gifs to communicate around this financial objective. We’ve been spending our time honing it, which naturally translated to creating a one-to-one product.”
To date, Silicon Valley-based Tilt has raised $62 million in funding from investors like Sean Parker, Andreessen Horowitz, and Reddit’s Alexis Ohanian.