An exclusive Tech Tribune Q&A with Sushil Prabhu (founder and CEO) of Dropp, which was honored in our:
Tell us the origin story of Dropp – what problem were you trying to solve and why?
As of 2021, 50% of reported consumer payments in the US are under $25. Historically, there has been no cost-effective way to accept small payments without costly transaction fees from traditional credit card systems. Digital merchants are impacted the most by this gap in payment processing – subscriptions have been the only way to monetize digital services like music, newspapers, streaming, etc. Consumers have now reached subscription fatigue, and globally, a large population that cannot afford subscriptions have been excluded from the digital world. Consumers are looking for a better option like “pay-per-use” to make digital purchases. With Dropp, merchants can offer consumers a pay-per-use alternative, meaning they can sell bite-size amounts of content (25 cents for a news article) and keep consumers happier. Beyond that, merchants will now have access to an untapped economy of micro-supporters they couldn’t reach before.
Dropp offers consumers a digital wallet to make small value purchases in USD and digital currencies. They gain access to products that were previously not cost-effective for merchants to offer. With Dropp, merchants get access to a much broader consumer base.
What was the biggest hurdle you encountered in your journey?
Micro-payments are a new category. It has been talked about for the last 20 years, but due to a lack of consumer demand and a lack of the right technology, micropayments have not been feasible. Dropp has made it possible using regulated banking technology and next-generation distributed ledger technology.
The biggest challenge, as with any new category, has been gaining the trust of merchants and consumers. Dropp offers a compelling proposition to merchants as they can now offer their services on a pay-by-use basis at a lower cost. However, this proposition requires them to rethink their business models that have been hardwired to center on subscriptions and accepting payments via credit cards. Dropp offers an alternative to subscriptions and credit cards.
The use cases for micropayments are endless. From buying singular digital assets to tipping video streamers and content creators to bite-sized e-learning, entertainment access, and publications per article, to charging an electric vehicle for a few minutes or purchasing cloud data…even buying a cup of coffee – micropayments are the future.
What does the future hold for Dropp?
We have a lot of exciting things on our roadmap. In the past 3 months, we’ve launched Dropp as a payment alternative for Shopify merchants. We recently launched a WordPress plugin to accept micro-donations and micro-tips for creators. We have a new WordPress plugin that will enable publishers to sell their content and limit content access only to buyers. There is a huge market need for independent publishers with very limited technical skills. Dropp offers all of our payment plug-ins at a very low transaction fee, as low as 5 cents on a $1 dollar transaction. Later this summer, we will release a merchant app to accept in-person payments. This should enable small businesses to accept payments as an alternative to cash or credit cards. In our long-term plan, we plan on offering real-time payments to merchants, especially a need for small businesses where everyday cash flow is a real need.
What are your thoughts on the local tech startup scene in Newark?
It’s exciting to be surrounded by a community of fellow tech startups and companies and have access to the synergy that comes along with that. The proximity to NJIT and Rutgers University to attract technical talent is a huge plus. Additionally, co-working spaces like Third Space, a growing number of meetup events, and a much more economical ecosystem than NYC makes building and growing a startup much more manageable for founders. Being close to many major East Coast cities, namely New York City, is essential for all startups looking for sales and business development opportunities.
What’s your best advice for aspiring entrepreneurs?
Stay focused. It is a long journey with many peaks and valleys. Learn to survive and you will make it and find success.