This Cincinnati Startup is Building an Innovative Way to Pay

Jan 24 2023
By Sarah Curran, Tech Ohio

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Peer-to-peer or P2P payment apps like Venmo and Cash App are now more popular than ever. Many people use them on a daily basis for everyday payments like tipping services or bills. For many of these apps, it’s a common practice to require personal data when using their services, but what if there was a way to facilitate these payments without giving away your private information? PayTile, a startup out of Cincinnati, is pioneering that movement with their location-based wallet app.

“PayTile is a geolocation payment platform,” said Founder and CEO Anu Vora. “We offer the ability to pay anyone nearby using your location without sharing any personal information for the transaction. Now, the platform offers the ability to place any digital good, like cash, a coupon or an offer, at a physical location. There’s a need to build more anonymity, privacy and safety into P2P platforms, and we’re doing that while also bringing people together to support small businesses and show those businesses who their motivated customers are.”

The technology is sophisticated, but simplicity is the name of the game for PayTile. The company’s goal is not only to act as a replacement option for cash in a world that’s becoming increasingly digital, but to also have a far-reaching impact for users and their communities.

“We want to show users that they don’t need to use multiple types of payment apps for different contexts and that PayTile can effectively declutter your life, wallet and phone,” she said. “You can use one app to pay people nearby, find amazing offers at your favorite local spots and pay merchants. Our goal is to bring people together and help the businesses that rely on foot traffic to survive in a post-COVID world. There’s a huge gap in the market for digitizing cash, as a private and anonymous form of payment, and now that we’ve built this app, the goal is to package PayTile to be a module inside other apps’ core infrastructures and ecosystems.”

Vora is no stranger to building a business from the ground up. PayTile was born out of Candid Ventures, the venture studio she founded after selling her first company, AdmitAlly. What started as a model for a unique FinTech startup has transformed into a sophisticated platform for AirDrop-like anonymous transactions.

“Our team built the app’s core architecture and we started brainstorming about the business and how people who have PayTile could pay someone who doesn’t have the app,” Vora said. “It led to this moment of genius where the team asked, ‘what if you could just drop the money or put it in the air where we’re standing?’ I realized the venture studio model could work for PayTile if I was in the driver’s seat. So I became a CEO again and my team and I have built this into a platform from the beginning. We’re now facilitating drops and P2P payments, acquiring business partnerships and have a core banking infrastructure.”

The startup is eager to demonstrate the power of their app and how their technology can integrate seamlessly into third party platforms. And as a Cincinnati native, Vora is confident that the city’s FinTech space perfectly positions the company to scale their business, while maintaining focus on the app’s users and their communities in Ohio and beyond.

“For FinTech, the expertise here in Cincinnati is unparalleled,” Vora said. “There’s so much institutional FinTech knowledge in this city and state. I also think there’s a really important culture of collaboration here. I’ve spent time on both of the coasts and there’s a general feeling of competition there. In Cincinnati and the rest of Ohio, the culture is that of collaboration, that a rising tide lifts all boats. It’s rare to find talent, expertise and culture like that in one place.”