Payments & Money Transfer | Toronto, ON | Founded: 2015 | Employees: 10 | www.soundpays.com
PHONE: (800) 341-1875 | LINKEDIN PROFILE | BLOOMBERG PROFILE
Last updated January 31, 2019 | To download a PDF version, click here.
Soundpays is a mobile engagement solution that utilizes ultrasonic sound waves to transmit secondary information from any broadcast content or advertisement to the phone. This allows viewers to receive supplemental information on the broadcast content or the product they saw in an advertisement and respond to advertiser calls-to-action, including the ability to purchase the product in real time from the ad, while watching the ad. The solution works on any medium with speakers: TV, online, Ot-of-Home digital signage, stadium jumbotrons, public address systems, etc. The company's current business strategy focuses on providing the technology (as an SDK) to major brands who embed it in their own mobile apps or digital wallets. Soundpays collects license fees from the brands deploying the technology and click fees and transaction fees for information downloads and purchases respectively.
Peter Misek: Chairman and Founder (2015 – Present). Currently: Founding Partner at Framework Venture Partners (2018-Present), Director at Wattpad (2016-Present), Director at GoViral (2016-Present), Director and Audit Committee Chair at Wave HQ (2015 – Present). Previously: Board Advisor (2001 – Present) and Venture Partner (2014 – 2015) at DN Capital, Partner IT Venture Fund at BDC (2015 – 2018), Managing Director at Jefferies LLC (2010 – 2014), MD at Canaccord Adams (2005 – 2010), Economic Advisor at Province of BC (2008 – 2009), Managing Partner at Orion Securities (2004), Director at Scotia Capital (2001 – 2004), VP at JPMorgan Chase (1998 – 2001), Manager at NM Rothschild & Sons (1998 – 1999), VP at Deloitte (1995 – 1998).Education: CFA (2001), CPA (1997), unspecified undergraduate degree from Brock University.
Steve Doswell: CEO (2016 – Present). Previously: CEO at First Information Security (2014 – 2015), Chief Market Development Officer at EKOHEALTH (2012 - 2014), Sr. VP Sales and BD at PCA Services (2008 – 2012), COO at AOL Canada (2007 – 2008), Executive VP BD at Dexit (2001 – 2006), VP and General Manager, Canada at Ericsson (1998 – 2001). Education: MBA at Concordia University (1986), B. Com at Carleton University (1982).
Soundpays was started by Peter Misek and Jason Squire in 2013. Peter, an advisor to Shazam, suggested this idea of making payments through an app. Although it did not work out there, he was allowed to take it elsewhere. Peter and Jason worked to solve the issues with sound waves in noisy environment. The pair continued to develop the Soundpays app and a working prototype for of their algorithms decoding ultrasonic soundwaves.
Soundpays secured their first “Friends and Family” funding in 2015 and released their initial app for iOS users later that year. Enhanced versions of a Soundpays-branded app were released in 2016 for both iOS and Android users. However, the focus of the company has been on white-labelling its technology for embedment in other third-party branded apps and wallets. Jason Squire was the initial CTO of Soundpays but left in 2017. Soundpays has had two seed funding rounds, through which a total of $1.6M was raised. Their initial seed round was on August 1, 2016, with a second, smaller round in 2018. Their main investor is Mistral Venture Partners, based in Ottawa.
Key Corporate Developments
Press Releases: http://www.soundpays.com/newsfeed
Aug 1, 2016: Soundpays raised an undisclosed amount of seed funding from Mistral Venture Partners
Dec 4, 2015: Soundpays partners with various charities for launch of their mobile wallet in Canada
Soundpays strategy is to develop an alternative consumer engagement solution with a capability for an immediate, friction-free purchase capability from advertisements or broadcast content. First, a consumer sees an advertisement (TV, video, digital, etc.) and sees a product that they want to learn more about. The consumer can open the app or wallet with the embedded Soundpays technology, automatically download information on the product that they are viewing (from an ultrasonic sound file playing from the ad), and potentially purchase the product instantly. This entire purchasing process takes less than 3 seconds. Soundpays has a strategy of providing consumers a way of quick and secure purchases directly from an ad, while not having to visit third-party sites and not having to pay for the app. Their main customers are advertisers and 3rd party integration onto existing applications. For advertisers, they provide a novel, direct access channel to consumers, as now consumers can purchase the product almost instantaneously. For merchants, they can sell to consumers with any mobile phone without adding new hardware (unlike Apple Pay and Google Pay).
Soundpays has an interesting product and pricing strategy. They are not worrying about acquiring consumers, as they supply their technology on a B2B basis to major brands, who then take on the B2C responsibility. The company makes money by selling technology to the advertisers. This technology allows advertisers to utilize the Soundpays technology within their ads and broadcast content, as well as within their mobile apps or digital wallets; through which consumers can purchase the product. The three main types of advertisements that they target are:
- Online Video: Soundpays can convert any web-based video into its own payment platform. They do this by incorporating Soundpays technology during the encoding process.
- Digital Signage: Any digital sign boards or advertisements (common at malls) can be turned into checkouts, where consumers can buy the product.
- TV Broadcast: Any consumer watching a TV advertisement anywhere can then be able to purchase whatever product they see on the screen using Soundpays.
Soundpays also has some business with 3rd-party integrators and has three main offering categories for them:
- Embedded SDKs: Through Soundpays SDK, third party applications can implement Soundpays features (decoding soundwaves) into their existing application.
- White-Label: Companies can deploy their own mobile wallet, with Soundpays pre-build, but fully features solution.
- App-To-App: Allows applications to push users and their shopping cart to Soundpays secure electronic checkout.
Soundpays payment solution is based around inaudible ultrasonic sound waves. These sound waves are embedded into a video that is broadcast through any type of speaker. The sound waves are received by the mobile device and decoded by proprietary algorithms in the Soundpays app. The information about the embedded product is then shown to the user, who can elect to purchase it. 
Soundpays distributes its own branded application through the App store and Google Play Store. However, this app is largely for demonstration purposes. Its key economic driver is selling the app SDK and the encoded sound files to enterprise brands.
There is not a lot of information available about their marketing strategy to attract consumers and advertisers onto their platform. Generally, the company takes a direct sales approach to targeted enterprises best positioned to be their B2B clients.
There are no direct competitors for Soundpays in Canada. No other company appears to offer the ability to decode soundwaves embedded within broadcast content, like Soundpays does.
Corporate Profile Created By: Karna Patel, Ivey HBA 2019