Managing group expenses can be a messy thing. Pestering your friends and roommates to pay up is a chafe, and creating a joint bank account takes a lot of work and can be far too permanent. But maybe there’s something in the middle. To that end, WePay, a startup that’s trying to make group money management simple, has raised a $1.65 million seed round from August Capital and angels including former Intuit CTO Eric Dunn, as was first reported by Scott Kirsner at Boston.com. The company had participated in the Y Combinator program this summer.
WePay, which is currently in private beta but expects to open up in early 2010, acts like a bank account but in reality is a service built on top of prepaid Visa cards. As compared to predecessors like Buxfer and BillMonk, WePay has built a group money management platform that users can actually pay bills with, rather than simply tracking IOUs.
WePay CEO Bill Clerico said the company is trying to make it as easy to set up a WePay account as it is to create a Facebook group or an Evite. Of course, since money is involved, you have to prove who you are by inputting your social security number and other information. Then you can invite new members to your group, who can pay for expenses with credit cards and even paper checks. You (aka the treasurer) then pay for your group expenses (rent, utility bills, what have you) using a debit card, paper check or online transfer.
Clerico said WePay has thousands of beta users and three (soon to be five) employees. The company makes revenue by charging either a 3.5 percent levy on funds transferred or 50 cents per transaction. WePay doesn’t actually hold any money itself, but works with The Bancorp Bank on the backend. Users don’t receive interest on the funds they store in their accounts.
For now, if you’d like to try WePay, sign up to get in line for a beta invite on the landing page, or find a friend you can owe money to who’s already using it.