Archive for June, 2013

Someone build this: Uber for Cash $

Posted on June 13, 2013. Filed under: Uncategorized |

I have been walking around without cash in my pocket for 24 hours.  As I walked to lunch today, I realized that the restaurant I was going to was CASH ONLY.  I made a pit stop at a local deli, where I paid $3.00 to retrieve $200 and continued on my way.  As I reflected on the inconvenience, I was reminded of a disconnect that has existed in my mind for more than five years.  It never made sense to me that I had to go to a bank or ATM to get money…I always thought how cool it would be if cash was delivered to me instead…the gating factor that always throttled my desire for a “Cash Delivery service” was cost.  I couldn’t figure out how to stay within the bounds of acceptable transaction fees while employing a courier force to move money from central locations to the edge where consumers would request delivery…ATM Networks are an edge network that pushes money from a central location to NEAR where a consumer needs money, but still they require the node or  ultimate end point of the cash (the consumer) to travel away from it’s natural state or position in physical space in order to receive the funds.  The optimized cash distribution network would get cash into a user’s pocket without inconvenience or deviation from day to day life.

As I reflected on this problem, I realized that the world is different than it was the last time I considered my “cash delivery service.”  Today we live in a world where smart phones have penetrated mainstream.  Consumers are used to pressing a button, and having value delivered to them.  Goods and services now travel to users instead of the other way around.  If I want a car, I press the uber button.  If I want food I press the seamless button.  In both of these cases, a combination of location based technology and easy to use software on top of existing supply side infrastructure allow me as a node to chill where I am and have value come to me.  In Uber’s case, they leveraged existing car services and drivers to satisfy the supply side of their marketplace, and there were enough cars operating below capacity to satisfy demand.  In Seamless’ case, they leveraged existing restaurant delivery infrastructure to satisfy supply in their marketplace.  Which brings me to the second major change in today’s world that didn’t exist last time I thought about “cash delivery.”  In today’s world of COLLABORATIVE CONSUMPTION, consumers have learned to transact with each other directly in markets that used to be dominated by enterprise.  So B-2-C transactions, thanks in large part to advances in the social graph and a universal identity/trust layer, have started to become C-2-C transactions.  Companies that have been enabled by this trend include AirBnb which allows consumers to rent rooms from their peers instead of hotels or Lyft which allows consumers to get a lift from a pier instead of a cab service.

Ok, so at the convergence of one click delivery enabled by LBS and Collaborative Consumption enabled by social identity layer…I present to you: UBER FOR CASH $.  My demand side network looks a lot like Uber or Seamless. Press a button, and have cash delivered to you wherever you are.  Very simple…but that was never the problem.  Sure smartphones make it easy for me to give you a slick UI to express your demand and location, but the supply side was where cost became an issue in my previous vision…but we’ve seen with Lyft and Airbnb that consumers are willing to be the supply side of previously enterprise supplied markets when properly incented and with the right tools…so today I propose the supply side of cash delivery service is everyday people…in fact the network of supply is MASSIVE.  Way larger that Uber or Seamless’ addressable supply.  Every single person on the street has the capacity to satisfy demand with the cash in their pocket.  It’s a 7 Billion node walking ATM network.  I envision users, much like uber drivers, getting a push that says “Jordan C is requesting cash .1 miles from you.  (btw he has 5 star rating and is not going to murder or rob you).”  Supply side user “accepts”, walks over, matches Jordan C’s picture with the guy sitting at the prescribed location, and hands Jordan C $60 out of his pocket.  Jordan C’s account is charged $3 fee.  Supply side users account is credited $62.  Newco Cash Delivery Service keeps $1.

Granted, that arbitrage is tight, and the economics of incentivizing supply and operating within bounds of acceptable fee structure need some massaging and deep diligence, but that is but one revenue stream to newco…I think you could figure out some creative ways of subsidizing the arbitrage with secondary and tertiary revenue streams….

So yea, who wants an ATM app on their phone?  Press a button, cash shows up?  I know I do.

P.S. if you want to build this, i might invest in you.  go do some research and then holler

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    I’m a NYC based investor and entrepreneur. I've started a few companies and a venture capital firm. You can email me at (p.s. i don’t use spell check…deal with it)


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