Cookies – "Pay the Street Musicians Digitally"

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We were interested in the P2P payment startup Cookies for quite a while now. When we met co-founder Lamine Cheloufi at the Pioneers Festival 2016 in Vienna, it was about time for an interview.

HI LAMINE, TELL US A BIT ABOUT COOKIES.

Cookies is a peer-to-peer payment app that allows users to send and request money. Cookies is the fastest and most secure way to pay your friends, and it’s incredibly convenient. You can pay anyone from your address book and don’t need IBANs, BICs or TANs anymore. And after a sign up in under 60 seconds, you’re all set and ready to go. Cookies really turns payments into communications. And by doing so, we care a great deal about security and data privacy – sensitive data is always encrypted and stored on the smartphone.

HOW DID YOU REALIZE THIS INSTANT PAYMENT TECHNICALLY? THERE ALWAYS IS A CLEARING PROCESS IN BETWEEN, SO HOW DO YOU WORK AROUND IT?

We wanted to create something truly innovative, also apart from a great UI/UX. Together with our banking partner, who will soon be announced, we made it happen. For us, speed is more than a technicality – it’s convenience. Everything happens in real-time: text messages, pictures, videos. But payments lagged behind, so we decided to change it. With Cookies, people will access their money instantly instead of waiting a few days.

WHAT EXACTLY IS YOUR UNIQUE SELLING POINT?

We are the most convenient way to pay your friends. Now, what’s convenience? Payments with Cookies happen instantly, it’s super easy and secure at the same time. Our unique selling point is a great payment experience. And experience is something that other’s don’t consider when it comes to payments. Just think of our Paymojis – you don’t need to write reference texts, but simply choose an emoji for your payment. Sounds simple until you’ve tried it – but then you see, wow, payments actually turned social.

DO THE PAYMOJIS ALREADY REVEAL YOUR TARGET GROUP? I GUESS YOU TARGET MILLENNIAL AND YOUNGER CUSTOMERS.

Almost right. There’s no payment solution out there for the smartphone generation, especially not for Generation Y. But our beta sign ups come from all kinds of people. Because convenience and speed aren’t reserved for Gen Y. And talking about Paymojis, they’re also not reserved for teens and tweens – I don’t know anyone who loves using Emojis more than my mother. So I can’t wait for her and her friends to start paying with them.

WHERE WILL THE PRODUCT BE AVAILABLE? ONLY ON MOBILE DEVICES VIA YOUR APP OR WILL THERE BE A WEB APP, INTEGRATION INTO MESSENGERS OR SOMETHING SIMILAR?

We developed a web app next to our Android and iOS app and you will be able to administer or delete all your data from your device in case it gets stolen.

YOU ARE GOING TO ROLL OUT THE PRODUCT IN GERMANY, RIGHT?

Yes, we will roll out in Germany and serve a market who has the biggest need of fast and easy payments. After that, we want to expand internationally. This is very important to us and adds value to the product. If I travel a lot and want to transfer money to my British friends, why shouldn’t it be possible without the big hassle? In Sweden, people pay the street musicians digitally, really. They see their user name and they transfer money to them digitally. That is really cool. We want this everywhere between anyone.

ARE YOU WORKING – OR EXPERIMENTING – WITH BITCOIN AND BLOCKCHAIN METHODS FOR PAYMENT? IT WOULD EXPLAIN A LOT OF HOW YOUR PRODUCT WORKS.

Good question. We are in the process of opening up a market – the amount of cash transferred from individual to individual is incredibly large. People don’t realize they can do this digitally, yet, so we try to open this big market first. The problem with bitcoin and blockchain is you have to educate the user first and explain your product as easily as possible. If you then want to explain how bitcoin plays into it, people will be confused. We want to keep it as clean and easy as possible. So we still distance ourselves and our product from the blockchain technology a bit, although we really like it and it might be the future of many things – not only in finance.

THANK YOU!