Tupix is an up-and-coming NZ tech start-up based in Ōtautahi Christchurch. The company was born out of the partnership between Joao, a Brazilian software tester with a knack for learning new systems, and James, a Kiwi software developer armed with a wealth of experience in web3 projects. Their shared mission is to improve data privacy and security for Brazilians, utilising the recently-released Pix instant payments protocol.
Founding Story and Progress:
Both founders root their operations in the values of kaitiakitanga - guardianship (especially when it comes to secure personal data), and auahatanga - innovation and creativity. Pix was released in late 2020 in Brazil, promising instant, failure-resistant, cheap (or in most cases, free) money transfers to Brazil’s 220 million people.
Since launch, Pix has exploded in use, being supported by nearly every Brazilian bank and digital wallet, with over 153 million monthly active users. However, despite this massive adoption, Pix’s potential is barely being utilised. Examples of nonfinancial applications are few and far between - but when you do find them, they are revolutionary. See for example this Brazilian e-signing startup that allows people to sign documents with their bank account: https://www.linkedin.com/feed/update/urn:li:activity:7084369462283431936/
Tupix has a product plan with two parts: (1) utilise Pix as an identity verification method, allowing businesses to “piggyback” off the rigorous identity verification processes employed by Brazilian banks, and (2) replace insecure SMS authentication with 1-cent instant bank transfers. As a two-person team, Joao and James are currently the heart of Tupix, but they're supported by a strong network of potential early customers and banking-as-a-service providers. Their journey is still in its early stages, but the ambition is big and the desire to make an impact is burning bright.
Progress & Traction
We are currently pre-revenue and still building the MVP. Our immediate focus is navigating the approval process for various technology partners, such as Meta (for access to their WhatsApp Business API) and several Brazilian Banking-as-a-Service fintechs.
Despite these preliminary stages, we’re already experiencing quite positive feedback from wouldbe customers, with several businesses ready to pilot our product once we are launched.
Our immediate goal is to launch our services and start bringing onboard our first users. As part of our ambitious expansion plans, James is all set to embark on a six-week journey to Brazil, where he will focus on strengthening his existing fintech relationships and scouting out a talented lead developer who can work in tandem with João. Despite the challenges we face, we're committed to driving growth, fine-tuning our product to fit the market perfectly, and gradually building a team dedicated to Tupix's vision.
Tupix Biggest Challenge!
Our first challenge is limited time commitment from both founders. Until recently James has been working full-time as an employee. Additionally, Joao's schedule is quite full with his studies, allowing him only a day per week to work on our venture. We are also managing some substantial startup costs. Most banking-as-a-service providers in Brazil require a hefty minimum monthly spend - and as a non-financial business, we don’t expect to earn enough revenue to break even with any of them anytime soon. Finally, timezones can make collaboration difficult. However we are working to solve this by bringing on a lead developer based in Brazil to work alongside João. Altogether, we’re not deterred - we're just rolling up our sleeves and getting stuck in.
Tupix view on the potential of Web3 Innovation for Finance!
Tonnes! We’re excited about the immense potential Web3 technology brings to the financial world, and our business aims to be at the forefront of this innovation. Our primary goal is to enhance both security and transaction options for our users.
Our initial focus lies in creating 'identity linking' solutions, with one of the applications being seamless connections between traditional banking and digital currencies. Imagine merchants having the ability to pair their bank accounts with their Bitcoin or Lightning addresses, offering them a wider array of payment alternatives. We also recognise the importance of sustainability in today's world. That's why we're committed to offsetting our carbon emissions using blockchain-verifiable carbon credits.
Furthermore, we've set our sights on Brazilian web3 companies as potential early customers. We're confident that our innovative security solutions will be valuable for businesses like digital exchanges and wallets where data safety is paramount. In a nutshell, we see our venture as a golden opportunity to merge traditional banking with digital currencies, enhancing transaction security while contributing to a sustainable future. And with Brazil as our target market, we're ready to introduce our Kiwi innovation to one of the world's most promising emerging economies.
What do Tupix see as New Zealand's super power in setting up a Web3 business?
From our perspective, the biggest super-power is NZ’s ease of doing business. The straightforward process of setting up a company, coupled with the relatively crypto-friendly legal landscape, offers the necessary foundation for a company like Tupix to build upon.
Secondly, the intimacy of the NZ business community, facilitated by our small size and 'two degrees of connection' culture, enables easy networking across sectors. This helps us rapidly create valuable partnerships and drive innovation, which is especially significant in the web3 space. Yet, we recognise some areas need improvement. Despite our crypto-friendly laws, there is a lack of support from banking institutions, as crypto companies often face discrimination. This results in a shortage of suitable crypto payment gateways, hindering operations for companies like ours.
Crypto tax law is also a bit inappropriate, treating cryptocurrency as a speculative asset instead of functional currency. But, then again, NZ’s crypto tax treatment is not really any worse than anywhere else. Furthermore, for web3 business that want to succeed internationally, our geographic isolation can be an issue. No matter how you cut it, we are in a difficult time zone for conducting business with America and Europe. But overall, NZ is an excellent place to start a crypto business.
Looking to get involved in the joyride of learning and building in Web3?
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