Startup Lowdown: Coin

Coin,-Inc.-Horizontal-Brand

This week, we have the pleasure of introducing you to Kanishk Parashar, founder and CEO of Coin. Coin, a YC backed startup founded in 2012, is aiming to combine all your credit, debit, membership and gift cards into one sleek and simple electronic card. The company hit the Internet by storm last fall when it rocketed past its crowdfunding pre-order goal within 40 minutes. Since then, the team has been working tirelessly to refine its product, ultimately targeting a summer 2014 launch. We had the honor of taking a few minutes of Kanishk’s day to get an update on his company’s progress.


StartupLowdown: Kanishk, thanks for taking time out of your busy day to speak with Startup Lowdown. For those of our readers who haven’t heard of it yet, could you give a brief description of what Coin is?

Kanishk: Coin is a connected device that allows you to combine all your cards into one and lets you use them everywhere they are accepted. Coin is in the familiar form of a plastic card, but equipped with a digital display, 128-bit encryption, Bluetooth Low Energy, and a battery that last years.  Not to mention, once configured using our mobile app, Coin operates autonomously on a day-to-day basis.  Based out of San Francisco, CA, Coin’s purpose is to create a product that simplifies and improves your life.

StartupLowdown: Your crowdfunding launch stirred up quite a buzz on the Internet a few months ago. What was your team’s reaction to the public reception of Coin?

Kanishk: The overwhelming response so far has been amazing. As an entrepreneur it’s validating because it proves there is a real consumer demand for Coin. So we are ecstatic to keep learning and listening to our pre-sales community and their feedback as we ramp up manufacturing for shipments this Summer.

StartupLowdown: Can you share a bit about recent progress or developments your team has made on Coin? Are you still on schedule for a Summer ’14 launch?
 
Kanishk: We are fine tuning Coin and making our last manufacturing tweaks to the device. We are still on schedule for Summer ’14 shipment. 

StartupLowdown: What does your team plan on doing to drive adoption amongst consumers and acceptance amongst merchants?  
 
Kanishk: Coin was made with ubiquity and consumer habits in mind. To use Coin, you are not required to change your pre-existing habits – just swipe it like any other magnetic striped cards you own. On the other hand, merchants are not required to purchase any additional machines or infrastructure to process a transaction. Coin works with all magnetic-striped card readers everywhere.

StartupLowdown: What do you see as the “must do’s” for your team to make Coin a success?
 
Kanishk: To make Coin a success, we are listening closely to our early backers for ideas and concerns, as well as keeping them updated weekly on our progress through the Coined Backers Club. We also recently announced a beta program to launch soon in SF and look forward to seeing Coin perform in real-world scenarios around the city.

StartupLowdown: After Coin’s launch, critics soon followed and were quick to point out areas of concern – namely security. What do you have to say, specifically in regards to security, to consumers who are on the fence about purchasing a Coin?

Kanishk: At Coin, Security is our number one concern. The following is a list of Coin’s security features:

  • The Coin app is password protected and is 128-bit/256-bit encrypted for all storage and communication with its easy-to-use consumer app to ensure the safety of your identity.  Our servers never store sensitive data and we are currently working on PCI compliance.
  • With Coin, you can only add your cards that match your personal information stored in the app. Your full name will be engraved on the Coin and your signature will be on the back just like a credit card.
  • Coin sends you a push notification alerting you if you leave your Coin behind and locks automatically if you go too far away, making it unusable if anyone tries to pay with it. If you need to unlock your Coin without your phone – you can enter in your single button passcode (similar to morse code) so you always have your Coin available for use.
  • On the digital screen, you will see the nickname that you assigned to your card, the last 4-digits of the card and the expiration date. If you need any other information off your card like your CVV code – you can go to your Coin app for front and back images of your card.
  • Coin has an alarm that remembers how many times your Coin is being swiped, and will alert you via the app if it is being swiped fraudulently when it is out of your hands.
  • The Coin card can be locked onto one card so a merchant or waiter can’t change it to a different card anytime the Coin card is not in your possessions.
StartupLowdown: Numerous companies have come along trying to redefine the way people pay, and I suspect many more will. How do you expect the payments space to evolve going forward? What do you see as potential areas of further innovation?

Kanishk: At Coin, we believe that the future of all payments will be made through a device. Coin is the first stepping-stone in this revolution, allowing consumers and merchants to utilize the technology of tomorrow with the same ubiquitous intuition of today. Whatever shape or form the future of payment devices will be, Coin will adapt and lead the evolution every step of the way.
StartupLowdown: Kanishk, I really appreciate the time you’ve taken to chat with us. It certainly sounds like your team has incredible momentum and we’re excited to see the product when it ships (I’m eagerly awaiting for mine to arrive)! Us here at Startup Lowdown wish you the best of luck!
If you’re interested in learning more about Coin, or are interested in ordering one, check out the links below:
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