Switch is raising more cash for its technology that helps people manage their credit card information online.
The Seattle startup, founded by veteran entrepreneurs that pioneered “Internet-in-a-Box” technology back in the 90s, just reeled in an additional $500,000 from angel investors. This is a follow-on investment from the previous seed money that came through in September.
Switch, which has raised $1.7 million since its inception in 2014, develops financial-related technology. Its first product is a credit card updater for online accounts, giving customers an efficient way of keeping their payment methods up-to-date, along with better visibility of their cards.
The idea is to help people easily update online payment information on various websites when replacing a credit card that was lost, stolen, or expired. This can be a frustrating and time-consuming process that is becoming more common with the increasing number of online services people are using on a daily basis that requires credit card information, from Amazon.com to Uber to Spotify to Netflix.
Also compounding the problem are the plethora of credit card options now available today.
“For the end user, it’s really about trying to create some financial portability,” Switch co-founder Chris Hopen told GeekWire.
There is also incentive for financial companies to participate.
“The visibility we can give them and the capability to be able to promote the more frequent use of their card is a big thing,” Hopen noted.
He added that the average customer today has 3.7 credit cards, with many people signing up for specific cards to earn rewards. That number will only increase with new payment methods and technologies hitting the mainstream, Hopen said.
“I want the freedom to choose what I want to use and when I want to use it,” he said.
The vision goes beyond just credit card information, though. The company’s broader mission is to build software that automates tedious tasks in the digital world. Its technology, which utilizes a web automation platform powered by machine learning, can be applied to other verticals.
“There is a lot more we can do beyond credit cards, but right now, that’s where we are focused,” Hopen said.
Switch, which employs 10 people, has been in stealth mode for the past two years, but did participate at a Finovate conference in San Jose, Calif., this past May as it begins to explore partnerships and attract customers.
Hopen founded Switch with former colleague David Pool. The founders previously worked together at Spry, a company that sold Internet connection software packages which allowed people to surf the web using a computer running Microsoft Windows. Spry sold to Compuserve for $100 million in 1995, the “largest acquisition yet in the Internet business” according to a New York Times article published at the time of the sale.
Pool was later CEO of a Bellevue-based enterprise content routing solution provider called DataChannel, a position he held from 1998 to 2002. During that time, Pool also started a venture capital firm called XMLfund that invested in XML-based web services. Pool left XMLFund in 2012.
Hopen, meanwhile, left Spry in 1996 after the acquisition and eventually became the CTO at Aventail, a Seattle company that developed VPN technology. Aventail and DataChannel were business partners.
Hopen later founded a Seattle-based file-sharing startup called TappIn, which sold to GlobeScape for as much as $17 million in 2011.