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Crowd-funding pushes lone startup into spotlight

Another crowdfunding project has hit South Africa’s Angel investment landscape., a site aimed at raising money for startups in South Africa, recently launched.

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For those not in the know,crowdfunding is chiefly a product of the internet, where individuals come together to support private or commercial ventures.

This follows a crowdfunding initiative by Eve Dmochowska, Crowdfund, which didn’t see the light of day.

Dmochowska’s project website has been shut down, and no further news has been heard from the founding members. Hopefully this new crowdfunding venture will fare better, and possibly reach the heights of successful sites such as Kickstarter, a successful US-based crowdfunding initiative which lets users fund startups ranging from gadgets, to games to musicals.

Crowdfunding is different, it has already found a startup to raise money for — Ching. Ching is a site aimed at establishing a new debit and credit card payment process

Nick Essame and Martin Ras are two established businessmen with a common goal — to launch their resource-pooling initiative. According to Essame, will be “slightly different, even better than the original manner of crowd funding.” How so? Pooling money from random, private and commercial sources is out the window, raising funds organically is in.

The path to Ching

Why is Ching important? Do you care about using money anywhere, anytime and with possibly any vendor? Then you should care about Ching. With a mobile phone, anyone becomes a vendor, or a willing customer.

Ching is a third-party payment system, aimed at merchants who want to process PIN-enabled credit and debit cards via mobile or standard websites. The “Ching solution” delivers a solution to merchants of any size, from small businesses to large corporations, effectively “benefiting any business” as Essame put it.

From 1 February until 31 March, wants to raise R1-million for Ching. Interested parties who wish to contribute to Ching can visit the Crowd-funding website and pledge a sum of between R1 000 to R 100 000.

While April may be the end of Ching’s donation cycle, the actual launch date is scheduled for some time in June. “We want to be 100%,” says Ras. “We want no difficulties, just to get the brand out.”

Crystal clear process

Ching’s aim is to simplify transactions in South Africa and with no other competitors on the horizon, it may find the market eager to accept its product. Its goal is to remove the need for physical debit card machines and to shift e-Wallets into the past. The focus: direct-selling with an emphasis on the needs of smaller businesses, such as those at trade shows. The process of signing up and transacting money is a mobile-friendly concept, explained below:

  • Merchant and consumer alike sign up on the mobile site, as this will be launched before the website. For a consumer, it’s a once-off registration. Merchants will use the mobile site for each transaction.
  • To register, users will have to enter card details online as well as their phone number. Ras says the process will take “30 seconds or less”.
  • The user can then transact. To purchase, the user gives the merchant their mobile number, the merchant enters the amount into the app, the consumer gets an SMS which asks them for their pin number, and the transaction goes through. Simple, fast and efficient.
Partners in crime
Essame is hardly inexperienced in relation to the payment industries. He has had over 25 years of experience, specifically focusing on the card environment in companies such as FNB, Nedbank, Visa International and MTN Business. Essame’s focus is the strategy, backend monitoring, and reporting within the company.

Ras is the sales genius completing his MBA and working towards getting Ching up and running at the same time. His focus, the daily operations of the company.

There are “few other stakeholders” in the company according to Ras.

Fee free

There are no monthly fees, except for a small amount taken from each transaction “which will more or less be in line with what the debit card machines charge,” according to Ras. The task now is to get the banks and cellphone providers on board. But when complete, Ching’s vision of a unified, hassle-free payment system will bear fruit. For further details, take a look at the executive summary .

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