This app wants to simplify Twitter giveaways, without bank accounts

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Let’s say I wanted to send a surprise “happy birthday” gift to a friend; my first thought would be to ask for their bank account number. I would do it for people I know very well but also for someone I only know on social media.

But what if my virtual friend, believing that we are not friends as such or having been tagged with double money online scams, is hesitant to share such personal information? Can I delight them on their special day using the public information I have about them?

In June, I tried Vendly, a web application that is testing a solution for this need (or desire, if you’re not yet convinced). “Social payments” the landing page states on a light green background. Bob Nzelu, the mastermind behind it, described it to me as a way to share and receive items of digital value – money, crypto, airtime, e-tickets – on social media.

“Like sending money through email addresses using PayPal, Vendly hopes to replicate that using social media credentials,” he said.

But that’s just the basic use case he anticipates, cutting back to allay my skepticism that transferring money on social media is a compelling enough value to build a business (potentially funded by social media). capital risk). In the long run, Vendly will help social media users monetize their social media presence, the CEO said.

Back to the sale of social money. Nzelu thinks Vendly is similar to Cash App and Venmo because it seeks to simplify transfers between people who don’t know each other. “Vendly is not designed for buddy friends who have each other’s account details.”

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For this type of relationship, creating a “sell” with a handful of social media and sharing the connection with a recipient is a good way not to be too personal or invasive while taking care of yourself.

It’s the online equivalent of a coworker putting a birthday cake with a card on your desk but not in your drawer.

A person who receives a sale can decide to make a complaint or ignore it by clicking on the link in their DM. The message indicates the amount sent; the recipient enters the bank account they want the money to go to. And like cakes, the link expires after a while (Nzelu sent me a demo sale of around $ 1).

Vendly stores the recipient’s bank details to facilitate future transfers, but the sender never sees the account information. Since a sender can create a sale to access multiple social networks, Nzelu believes this should attract brands or influencers who target freebies given to 3 million Nigerian social media users who have a bank account and a phone number.

Vendly is one of a series of social giveaways apps that seek to delight people online.

A few months ago, after my editor promised me a book, I received a Tweet from Show love, a company based in Lagos, with a voucher to pick up my books from a particular bookstore (thanks again, KK). Get Cards, a product of cryptocurrency startup Buycoins, launched last December for people who want to gift services like a Netflix subscription, Amazon or Delta plane ticket to friends and family.

Like these two services, Vendly is hoping that its first pulling platform will be Twitter, as the platform is the most user-friendly for services that require people to click on links to claim rewards.

But Nzelu knows that can’t be the long-term plan. After all, Twitter is officially banned in Nigeria at the moment, an event that currently hinders Vendly’s ability to be fully functional. An alternative is to send sales using phone numbers, although this option may raise privacy concerns. The integration of other platforms – Instagram, Facebook – is on their roadmap.

At the moment, Vendly is a prototype being iterated. It may still face tough questions about monetization, like Abeg’s mobile app that launched last year to enable peer-to-peer money transfers using social handles. But Nzelu says Vendly will address most user concerns when it launches in a few weeks.

He’s been working there for two years now and feels the time has come to tap into the bump in the social and creative economy that started last year. Being Nigerian, his country of origin is the market of choice. But if this proves difficult for a start, Vendly will seek initial users in Ghana, Kenya and Uganda.

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