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  • Writer's pictureConnar Stratton

Startup Idea #27: NFC-enabled payment ring

Idea: A finger ring that is Near Field Communication (NFC)-enabled. NFC is a wireless communication technology that allows devices to exchange data over short distances, typically by holding them close together. Applications include being able to unlock doors, your PC, and use contactless pay. Having a ring that is NFC-enabled would be a secure way and convenient way to pay merchants, and unlock your assets. You would need to partner with an existing payment network such as Visa, Mastercard, or Amex to make sure that the ring is compatible with all terminals.

Problem: As cash and wallets have fallen into disuse (particularly in Australia), having a credit card or phone on you at all times is a given. For runs, trips to the shop, and walks having a phone may not be your preference. The only alternative right now is a smartwatch, but what if you are not a watch sort of person?

Insight: Not yet

Validation method: I would do initial testing on Facebook and Instagram to validate the value proposition, and demographic positioning of the product. My initial hypothesis would be males in their 20's and 30's who are using an iPhone. The initial value proposition could be style, and payment convenience. You would need to really sell the 'tech coolness' factor by copying the branding of other cool gadgets. Once you get initial validation, you can work on a prototype, and reach out to Mastercard, Visa, and American Express. Presumably, the discussion would go very slowly, so in the meantime I would list the product on KickStarter and Indiegogo. This would help you get better customer validation which can improve your negotiating position with the payment network providers.

Notes: Although this may not be a huge customer problem, this is something that I personally have been waiting for, for years. The biggest hurdle for this project is partnering with Mastercard, Visa, or American Express. This would be a reasonably capital intensive business, which is why a crowd-funding platform may be the best way to approach the product.

Why am I doing this? I’m an innovation consultant who helps businesses build new products, and ventures. And I want people to see how easy it is to build, and validate an initial business idea. Hopefully inspiring them to start their own business.

Am I worried that people will take the ideas? I hope they do. These ideas will hopefully make the world a better place. Just remember, “Ideas are cheap. Execution is everything”. What’s most likely is that within a month of testing the idea, the idea would have completely pivoted, but this is a starting point.


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