Kash snaps up former Visa CEO during funding round success

Kash, a San Francisco-based start-up which intends to disrupt the online payments industry, has appointed Joseph W. Saunders, former Visa CEO and chairman, to its board of directors.

Saunders joins Kash with a wealth of experience within the payments industry.

Having been appointed as Visa CEO in 2007, Saunders held the same role while working for Fleet Credit Card Services and Providian. Saunders also joins the payments firm as chairman of the board.

Moving forward

The payments firm used the hiring of Saunders to announce a series of new changes to its company.

Kash unveiled its new application programming interface (API), named liveACH API. The new technology is based on a propriety algorithm that is designed to clear cheques. The API takes over the risk of all transactions making it easier for merchants to accept payments.

Kash claims that it’s the ‘‘first payment API that combines the speed and convenience of credit cards with affordability of ACH payments.’’ The API will cost developers 0.5 per cent per transaction.

The Californian start-up also recognises its API as the first of its kind to deliver a non-chargeback, faster payment alternative to traditional credit cards, emphasising its intention to disrupt the payments market.

As well as hiring Saunders, Kash has also employed Sam Wen, founding member and former lead developer of Square, who joins as the firm’s developer ambassador.

To top it off, Kash also received a welcomed cash injection during its latest funding round, receiving $1.5m from Fin Tech supporter Green Visor Capital. Kash has now raised a total of $4m

Disrupting the industry

Kash was founded by a number of payment enthusiasts, including lawyer Kaz Nejatian, former Microsoft engineer Dany Su and ex Morgan Stanley and Oanda employee Geoff Flarity.

Identifying Venmo and Dwolla as possible competitors, the founders laughed at the idea of viewing Visa and MasterCard as rivals within the payments space during a recent Q&A.

‘‘We don’t fear Visa or MasterCard. They can’t innovate. We talked to a senior executive at MasterCard and they don’t worry about interchange busting,” stated the trio.

‘‘They want to become more mobile, but they see no risk to their existing way of processing transactions. We do worry about Square and PayPal. If they wanted to cannibalise their main revenue source in credit card processing, they could take us out. But that’s a difficult business decision for either of them to make.’’

Kash has one eye firmly on its competitors, stating that virtual currency could be the difference between a successful and unsuccessful payments firm.

‘‘We do fear Google and Apple. If they get their act together, they could really disrupt the whole industry. Also, if Bitcoins become mainstream and replace government-backed currency, that would destroy the entire market we are aiming to disrupt.’’

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