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BitPass – Profile

September 17, 2004

HQ: Palo Alto, CA
Founded: 2002
Management: CEO is Michael O’Donnell, who wisely vacated his role as President and CEO of the underachieving Salon Media Group to take the helm at BitPass. Co-founders Kurt Huang and Gyuchang Jun appear to be hardcore geeks with expertise in AI and material science.
Investors: Series A of $1.5M in July 2003 and Series B of $11.75M in September 2004. VCs include Worldview Technology Partners, Steamboat Ventures, RRE Ventures, Garage Technology Ventures, Cardinal Venture Capital, and Amicus. Also Constantin Partners and individual investors.
Business Model: Micropayment system for digital content. Customers deposit money into BitPass debit accounts and can spend the cash at any site affiliated with the company. Vendors can begin accepting BitPass payments after downloading a free software client. BitPass targets low-cost transactions (less than a dollar in most cases) that are typically money-losers for credit card companies because of built-in processing fees.
Competitors: Peppercoin, PayPal (eBay), PaymentOne, Yaga
Dirt: The micropayment market is littered with busts, but the emergence of digital music, ringtones, and mobile games as easily downloadable premium items bodes well for BitPass. According to research firm the Tower Group, the micropayment market for digital content could reach $11.5 billion by 2009.


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