Finally, some true innovation for peer-to-peer online payments from a company establishing itself with partners who will really help distribute their service. Partners like AOL and Facebook.
Jason Hogg grew up in the finance industry, in fact his father works for MasterCard. Jason was a founder of MBNA Canada and served as chief business development and marketing operations for them.
Over a year ago, I met Jason, along with members of his board (Steve Case included) for an intimate briefing to a handful of interest journalists. The parent company Revolution, was premiering a subsidiary of that company called RevolutionMoney. I was in that group, sitting along “real” journalists, with their tattered notebooks, scribbling furiously as Jason spoke. Me, with my iPhone, trying for one of the first times, to type quickly. Unable to keep up, I resorted to jotting down topics, looking with envy to the fast-moving pens beside me on either side. Well, I thought, I’ll get it all in an interview. People tell me Steve doesn’t have the best business sense all the time, but I still have a soft spot for him because of my time at Netscape. Jason sticking it to his dad for the interests rates alone seemed satisfying enough to chase him down for a chat.
And after all, what Jason was doing, seemed like an interesting story — putting the power of money lending, and terms of those relationships into the hands of the people actually at risk. I liked it. I thought it would allow so many people across the world, from those who get caught in the problem of “we can’t lend you money because you need it” to those in 3rd world countries still just hearing rumors of technological advances, sheltered from the knowledge of the opportunities around them.
There was something I liked too, about what Jason must have learned from his father. The enormous interest rates and late fees credit card companies change consumers is a large problem. So many people are in debt, or have debt war stories. RevolutionMoney was sounding like EvolutionMoney. Terms negotiated directly between two (or more) parties. I thought more than once about my Indian friend Arijit, with whom I would trust to back for a business initiative he may have, regardless of his resources.
I called RevolutionMoney’s press contact a couple of times. She didn’t return my calls. I tried email, finally she told me she was no longer with the company and gave me a new name. I tried the new name, to the same end. Eventually they told me that Jason was too busy for an interview, and now I know why.