The breakthrough came thanks to coffee
  • To be exact, three coffees and three loyalty stars earnt using the Starbucks app back in January 2013.

    By Alain Falys, Co-Founder and CEO:

    It was important because it helped Michael Rolph, Dave Nicolson and me answer the question we'd been circling for months: How do we take the emergence of mobile payment and harness it into something meaningful for both customers and retailers?

    “The status quos around payment could truly be disrupted.”

  • Portrait

    All three of us had been working in payments and FinTech up to this point. I was ex-SVP at Visa Europe and co-founded of OB10 - the world’s leading e-invoice platform.

    Michael’s career had taken him from Barclaycard to PayPal before joining the FinTech advisory, Anthemis and Dave is best known as the co-founder of Zopa, the peer-to-peer lending platform.

    Through our individual journeys, we had all ended up at the same conclusion - mobile payment had the potential to redefine a whole industry, but to date, only a fraction of its potential had been realised.

  • Portrait

    By Michael Rolph, Co-Founder and CRO:

    What the Starbucks experience showed was that mobile payment could be more than a mirroring of contactless card payment. It could deliver payment and rewards in one seamless and personalised experience.

    Our vision was to take that concept and democratise it. Brand-specific apps like Starbucks were good but who would want to live in a world where every brand had its own payment and loyalty service?

  • We set about creating a prototype that delivered on four goals:
    1. It would deliver fast, secure mobile payment
    2. Every payment would create some form of reward for the user
    3. It would be a single destination that could house multiple brands
    4. It would help retailers understand their customers behaviours and preferences better

    Ultimately, we started our mission to redefine the wallet.

  • SUMMER 2013

    May to July were big months in Yoyo’s fledging journey. With the product still largely residing in their heads, Alain, Dave and I hit three milestones.

  • $1,250,000

    Firstly, they secured their first seed round, raising $1,250,000.

  • VISA

    Secondly, we brought on board Daniel Maurice-Vallerey as an advisor. He bolstered our tech capability and brought a wealth of experience as a former senior executive at Visa and advisor to Mastercard.

  • And last but not least, we secured our first retailer in the form of Imperial College’s campus catering operation and Student Union, representing 35 retail outlets on campus.

    They immediately saw the potential and embraced our vision, setting an ambitious timeline of a fully functional product rolled out for Freshers’ week (October ‘13).

  • SEPTEMBER 2013

    The summer of 2013 was one of building and iterating. Every angle was explored and we found more than a few dead ends. Nonetheless, we were so confident in our approach that in September, despite not having a fully functional product, we launched at TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco!

  • NOVEMBER 2013
  • On the 7th of November 2013, we rolled out a Beta version of Yoyo Wallet at Imperial College, at the Sir Alexander Fleming Cafe… one month late, not pretty, but fully functioning.

  • JANURARY 2014
  • After a successful 3 months trial, and one year after the concept for Yoyo had been conceived, Yoyo Wallet was fully launched to the 16,000 students across the UK’s leading tech and innovation university.

  • MARCH 2014
  • In less than two months Yoyo Wallet had over 2,500 users at Imperial College and by the end of March, it had achieved 15% share of checkout across campus. With the concept fully validated, we begun to roll out UK-wide, targeting universities and corporate sites.

  • APRIL 2014
  • Yoyo Wallet won Pitch at the Palace, the Duke of York’s initiative to expose promising startups to a wide network of international business leaders and closed its second seed round of US$3,750,000 lead by Imperial Innovations.

  • JANUARY 2015
  • A year after full launch at Imperial College, Yoyo Wallet was now live at 10 UK universities and our first corporate clients started to deploy Yoyo Wallet in their cafeterias, opening the way to massive adoption by the world’s leading catering operators.

  • APRIL 2015
  • Yoyo closed a US$10million Series A funding round and begins expansion into the US.

  • 2016
  • The year starts with Yoyo being live in over 30 universities in the UK and 100 corporate sites, with the US, Spain and Singapore growing rapidly.