A few weekends back, we were loitering through the street fair stalls at the Fillmore Street Jazz Festival in San Francisco. While buying a piece of handmade soap, we watched the vendor whip out a little mobile payment terminal to swipe the credit card. Struck with curiousity, we asked to see the nifty little device: a Way Systems Mobile Transaction Terminal (MTT).
It turns out, we were scheduled to have dinner with the founders of the company soon after, so I got to hear their story first-hand. The CEO, Will Graylin began his career with nearly six years of service as a U.S. Navy Nuclear Submarine officer and was the first Chinese immigrant to serve as an officer in this program. Well, he also has a couple of degrees from MIT, and so forth, but this Nuclear Submarine background is what VCs found compelling during their financing road-show! Damien Balsan, the other founder, worked at Gemplus before, and was a big deal sales guy in Latin America. One of his ancestors was Madamoiselle Coco Chanel’s lover in Paris. Conversation at dinner was most entertaining!
Anyway, Way Systems has an extremely simple value proposition, to be able to process credit card transactions using cell-phones! Millions of mobile merchants – from Pizza delivery boys to Avon door-to-door reps to taxis to plumbers to massage therapists – can now become networked!
Bill Melton, founder of Cybercash and Verifone, is on the Board, lending credibility and guidance. This is, indeed, “Way Cool” and an elegant little company to watch!