The problem of “splitting bills” has generated tons of solutions. Many people use the app Venmo to remind friends to pay them back, or the app Splitwise to keep a running total of who owes whom what. Since 2013, even Uber added a “split fare” feature helping passengers split the ride price with a simple tap.
Paerpay, a new local app in this year’s MassChallenge Boston cohort, is tackling the challenge of helping customers split the bill at the restaurant—by skipping a crucial step of the process: the bill itself.
Derek Canton, CEO and founder of Paerpay, was so eager to start working on the company that he left his daily job and moved to Boston even before being accepted into the accelerator program.
“You probably had [this problem before]: you had a great dining experience, you’re ready to go and you’re stuck waiting for the check,” Canton said.
The first important thing to understand is that Paerpay is a service that restaurants offer customers to get the check in their hands faster, so to speed up the turnover of tables for restaurant owners.
From customers’ perspective, it works as follows: customers, who need to download the free Paerpay app, walk in and scan a code they find on their table. The Paerpay system creates a bill that integrates directly with the restaurant POS. When the moment of leaving arrives, customers tap on the app and see their check; they can pay the whole bill, or select the items they’re paying, split the check evenly, or even invite a remote Paerpay user to join the bill.
“So yes, I could ask my dad to pay for my meal,” Canton joked.
Canton pointed out that the Paerpay experience is similar to the Uber experience in the sense that customers don’t have to deal with any frustration, cash, math or wait time. In the Paerpay app, they can enter their payment methods (credit card or Apple Pay) ahead of time. The result is that the whole chain of actions required to pay a restaurant bill – ask for the bill, provide the credit card, sign the bill and potentially do the math to split the bill – boils down to a few clicks.
Launched in July 2017, the Paerpay app is not publicly available yet, but it’s running a pilot with Worcester, Mass.-based Niche Hospitality, a network of eight taverns and wine bars, until the end of the year. Meantime, it’s also talking with “a handful” of Boston restaurants (Canton won’t reveal names at this stage), with the goal of launching in Boston early next year.
Canton founded the company by himself, with Worcester, Mass.-based ten24 Digital Solutions handling the technical part. The e-commerce solution provider is also one of the investors of Paerpay, which has a total funding to date of $100,000.