Startup Profile: Pago Helps Clients 'Skip' the Line

Mountain View start-up to provide mobile payment services at the city's 40th Annual Art and Wine Festival.

For the past few weeks, Pago has been put to the test in more than 50 Mountain View businesses.

The company, which developed a mobile payment application for smartphones, allows users to see a list of products sold by a brick-and-mortar business and then make the purchase via a mobile device.

But their application will really be tested Sept. 10-11, now that Pago is partnering with the to allow more than 100,000 festival-goers the ability to browse the wine and food selections, pay for their alcoholic beverages, view a map of the festival and find restrooms, information booths and emergency services.

"Mountain View is located in the heart of Silicon Valley and is a town full of forward-thinkers who are quick to adopt new technology," said Leo Rocco, Pago's founder and CEO. 

The local businesses signed up for the application vary and include hair salons, coffee shops, dry cleaners and bars. It's the clientele of these sort of businesses that could benefit from the app, because they can now order online and then "skip" the line, according to Rocco.

“This whole concept of a line is ridiculous,” said Rocco. The former IBM executive believes that the communication process between a customer and seller is more efficient if it doesn't physically happen. “We are making things a lot more efficient.”

Studies by Juniper Research Ltd. estimate that mobile payment users will increase by 40 percent by 2015, which will increase the market worth to $670 billion. The potential for huge profits has driven competition to new levels and pits Pago against some big names, such as Zong, backed by Ebay, and other future mobile payments services like Google Wallet, to be released sometime soon.

The ability to help people "skip in line" may be what distinguishes Pago for the rest.

“There is plenty of market opportunity for new mobile payment applications, ” said David Snow, senior analyst at Juniper Research. “All new entrants will need some special attribute to distinguish them from the other players if they are to gain traction.”

Pago, aware that it needs to differentiate itself in more then one way, claims that in this field, its holistic approach to standardize all commercial transactions between a customer and merchant—does just that. 

“We are positioning ourselves to be the uniform interface,” said Rocco, who believes that other mobile payment systems do not approach their transaction systems with a desire to improve the process of day-to-day shopping.

Pago allows you to not just pay, book, skip a line and order, but it also has reviews on the services or products users can buy.

With 22 employees and $2.1 million in angel funding from tech figures like the former CEO and co-founder of Ariba, Keith Krach, and Bruce Leak, co-founder of WebTV Networks, Pago hopes that users choose them.

“The entire transactional lifecycle is in my opinion going to drive the true adoption of mobile payments,” said Rocco.

“Your kiosk is your phone.”

commuter August 24, 2011 at 05:04 PM
I tried this app, but had to uninstall it because it was too buggy. It wasted so much CPU and memory on my phone (even when not in use) that my phone became unusable. I could not find any settings to disable their background services.
Alejandro Lopez de Haro August 24, 2011 at 10:30 PM
Thank you for the comment. We have forwarded the story to Pago, and let them know of your thoughts.
Pago Team August 25, 2011 at 12:10 AM
@Commuter Thanks for downloading the Pago app! We are aware of the issues you mentioned above and are working to fix them. We will be releasing a new version of the app in the next few days. Thanks for your feedback and patience. Please give Pago another try on us. Contact help@gopago.com so that we can credit your account.


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