Israeli startup has come up with an interesting service and technology that allows people to drop in coins and bills into TravelersBox stations at airports all over the world. The money in the box is converted into dollars or Euro and it is credited in the person’s Paypal, Skype or Starbucks account.
It is a common scenario for anyone who travels frequently to end up having some spare changes while leaving a country. The denomination of the coins may be too small to go to a bank to exchange. Considering this situation of many, this startup aims to make the best value of the left over foreign currency coins and bills. The company does not charge for changing the currency and transferring it to the various accounts like Skype, PayPal and Starbucks account. There is option to use some of the currency to charity as well.
Founded by Tomer Zussman, Idan Deshe and Dror Blumenthal, the startup has raised $4.5 million from many investors like Global Blue, Yuval Tal, Zohar Gilon, Hagai Tal and Ehud Levy, along with Pitango Venture Capital and iAngels in order to expand into more airports where more TravelersBoxes will wait to much the extra currency.
The company representative Vicky Petel said, “TravelersBox are aiming to provide a fee free service, which will be possible by increasing the affiliation from TravelersBox partners.” One of the founder Zussman said, “Every time I got back from a trip I found my pockets full of quarters that I always forgot to take back with me from my next trip, I started to count the coins every trip and found out that it was around $10 to $15.” His own experience and considering the many others who would be facing the same, spurred him with the idea for the startup. He says, “It is a $40-$50 billion dollar market no one has touched.”
“One of us bought a Beatles album through iTunes for $4. Then we started thinking how to take the small cash denominations in someone’s pocket left over from a trip and create value for it,” said Blumenthal, another founder. “If you transfer $4-$5 to your bank account, it doesn’t make much difference, but if you buy a dish with it, that’s something else. We realized that, online, small denominations have more value. That’s when we realized we had something,” he added.
Since the credit card fee is high, the team decided to make use of the change and turn it into internal value that could be put into use somehow. Topping up the Starbucks card is a smart option for all rather than losing most of it in bank transfer. The startup has also partnered with retailers like Old Navy, Toys R Us, H & M, Barnes & Noble, The Gap and FootLocker.