Start-up profile: Judo

Judo is a British startup which provides a card payment solution for mobile applications

Judo is a British startup which provides a card payment solution for mobile applications.

What are the benefits for IT buyers?

Compared with companies like PayPal – which while processing a payment requires 14 calls to its server – Judo completes a payment in one, which is considerably important in a mobile environment.

Additionally, because PayPal has grown during the e-commerce boom while Judo is focused entirely on mobile, it claims to have made its model easier and faster to integrate. 

It also offers in-app intelligence, such as recognising that 4976 is a Visa card when card details are entered and inserting that information automatically. 

“Little touches which make it a smoother check-out experience on mobile,” said Dennis Jones, CEO of Judo.

How does the technology work?

Judo is built using C# and .Net which Jones said is very stable as it is purely for mobile applications. The company provides the APIs and SDKs to the developers so that the card processing can be incorporated into an application.


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How will the technology work in a typical corporate infrastructure?

While Judo provides the APIs and SDKs to developers working on monetising their applications, if a customer is a retailer with an in-house development team, the company can sign up to Judo up for the service in minutes.

“Most retailers are used to something taking multiple weeks with huge amounts of information and we work hard to really simplify that process,” Jones said.

Customers fill in a one-page application form after which that takes them straight to the APIs so they can start coding and testing transactions in-house before submitting their app to the app store. Judo also provides consultation around implementing payments and customers can discuss various ways of doing so. 

It is a platform-as-a service (PaaS) model as the company offers multiple services. One additional service is providing control of cash flow, to keep money in escrow until the buyer has received their goods. 

Who is the target market?

Judo currently has over 2,500 customers mainly retailers, taxi firms, restaurants, although the technology can be used by anyone wanting to monetise something within a mobile application.

While the company works with companies, it also works closely with app developers, and relies on them for recommendations.

“It’s not top of the retailers mind – they know they need to accept payments and work with a reputable company  who’s secure, but it’s the app developer who usually makes the decision,” said Jones.

Customers include Bar Pass, Tap Takeaway (a competitor of Just Eat) and Payments Sense for corporates who need to accept payments on the go.

Background of a start-up

The company was started in May 2012 by two entrepreneurs who had recently started a merchant service provider distributing typical chip and pin machines. They recognised a need for an inexpensive solution for small retailers, market stall holders and m-commerce. The company won the interest of a private single investor and Jones was bought over in the August to run the company and they decided to build the idea as a platform.

The first off-the-shelf product was a micro-merchant model, which around 2,000 of their customers currently use allowing very small businesses across the UK to get paid by any mobile phone.

“We’ve continued to build the platform and we’ve recently come out of beta for payments for mobile apps,” said Jones.

Over the next six months Judo intends to build its customer base in the UK, as well as expand to follow its customers by providing support internationally.

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