Tapster is a young company, but its foundations were laid over a decade ago. After working with marketing and PR, I founded the Triwa watch company together with Tapster co-founder Tobias Ericsson, and two other friends. We wanted to make design watches more accessible to the masses. It was exciting times; we were running the company on our lunch breaks while holding up normal jobs – before growing it into a well-established business.
The rush for smartwatches
Once Apple launched their watch, there was a sudden rush for incorporating smart features into watches, even from the big Swiss watchmakers. But smartwatches must be charged and connected. We wanted a different type of smart, something that would provide a valuable service, without the inconvenience of having to charge a watch.
“That’s when we found Fidesmo, who offered something unique. With their service Fidesmo Pay, we could provide our customers with contactless payments, without redesigning the watches”
Introducing smart analogue
We sourced and tested NFC chips and embedded them into our watch straps, which meant we could offer contactless payments for multiple watches. Then held a big launch party, where people could connect their cards immediately and tap and pay for drinks – it was a huge success. We quickly realized there was a bigger potential for this. It didn’t have to be a Triwa watch it could be any watch, and we could supply the straps. So, we set up Tapster. Now any watchmaker can offer their customer contactless payments with our Fidesmo Pay-ready watchstraps. They can make analogue watches smarter.
Joining the Fidesmo platform is a smooth process for wearable manufacturers. Based on the initial market plan, projections and platform partners, a scalable solution is agreed upon and set up for easy onboarding. The right secure tools are provided for end customers to easily connect their payment cards to the wearables.
175% quarterly growth
Obviously, it took us some time to set up the company. We wanted to market to both consumers and businesses. This meant building a product portfolio of rings, keyrings and additional watch straps, developing a website and creating a buzz around the company. When you partner with Fidesmo as a wearable manufacturer, you get access to all banks in the Fidesmo network automatically. Some banks also chose to collaborate even deeper with some wearable partners, promoting them in different ways. Our first close bank collaboration was with KBC, a Belgium-based bank, and our business has grown exponentially ever since, both in sales of wearables and bank/payment partners that we connect to through the Fidesmo platform. The company has seen 175% quarter-on-quarter market growth, which we expect to continue, long-term.
We have several different user groups. Firstly, there are the fashion-sensitive who want designer wearables – our ceramic rings are popular right now. Secondly, there are the techies, who love the process and understand what’s going on in the backend. Finally, there is the convenience crowd, people who don’t want to get their wallets out whenever they make a payment. And that spans from pensioners to kids – like my daughter, who is currently using my key ring to make small payments.
Once a card is connected to a wearable on the Fidesmo platform a unique token made up of randomly generated numbers is assigned to the wearable. This token is used for transactions, not the payment card number (PAN). If you lose or misplace the wearable you can block it and the card remains active. You do not have to cancel the card and wait a week or more for a replacement and set up a new pin number.
Secure payment technology
Of course, there is still a slight hesitancy among some people when it comes to making payments with new technology. The fact that global corporations such as Visa, Mastercard, and Samsung are on the Fidesmo platform, along with major banks in many European countries, highlights how secure the solution is. Additionally, Fidesmo complies with strict financial regulations and utilises tokenization, which is the securest way to make contactless payments. So, it needn’t be a concern for consumers or businesses.
It’s exciting times for Tapster and the technology. We’ve built one successful company providing consumers with fashionable products that fulfil a need, and now we plan to do the same with Tapster but this time we’re targeting consumers and watchmakers.