John loves his Friday nights out with his friends. Last Friday, he went out to with his friends to the pub, had a good time, and picked up the tab for the table at the end of the night with the plan to "settle" the bill later. But we all know what happens next.
When "later" arrives, John feels awkward asking his friends to pay up. John foregoes his dues, rationalizes his loss, and his friends get lucky. "Hey! Could you transfer the $2.5 you owed me for the beers I bought you yesterday?" or "I picked up some groceries yesterday. You owe me $7.2 for the same" are hardly the most comfortable topics to bring up.
Now imagine a scenario where John who goes out with a different group of friends. Each of these friends pick up separate bills respectively. One picks up the cab bill, one picks up the movie tickets, and so on. John, being a fair and equitable fellow wants to figure out how much exactly he owes his friends and how much they owe each other. But this, too, is an arduous task full of conversations that are nobody relishes having. We’ve all been there.
Enter Finnish startup Scroo.ge
As a Scroo.ge user, all John would have had to do was enter transaction events and tag his friends. What if his friends are not Scroo.ge users? No problem! John can select any of his phone contacts and Scrooge will send out a free sms invite from which they can download the app and instantly take necessary actions. Even if a friend chose to not install the app, John can still keep track of all the costs himself.
The biggest merit of Scrooge lies in the fact that the makers are holistically looking at the problem of fair splitting. Scroo.ge is part of the ongoing trend of startups focusing on social behavior and peer-to-peer collaboration, within the mobile payments industry.
From a student project to a prototype
Scroo.ge have kept costs down by commissioning their market research through a student project, and testing their prototype in a closed user group. The founders, who have experience in digital marketing campaigns, are hoping the apps inherent social aspect will help it go viral. But to become a success, they will have to quickly establish themselves as a go-to app.
As the makers say, "Trustworthiness is the key and a must-have option to stay competitive".