Posted on November 8, 2019 by staff

Twinkl execs depart to launch ‘group payment revolution’


Two key figures left behind careers at educational publisher Twinkl to launch a ‘group payment revolution’ with app Collctiv.

COO Amy Whitell and CTO Pete Casson departed the Sheffield firm in April to build Collctiv, which seeks to solve the age-old problem of collecting money from friends when you’re organising a group activity or booking.

Whitell came up with the idea after losing £80 on a baby shower. “The lightbulb moment for Collctiv started with a real pain point,” she told BusinessCloud.

“I’m usually the organiser in my group of friends, and often end up being out of pocket when collecting money for gifts or group events – this isn’t because my friends are particularly tight or bad with their money, it’s because they rarely carry cash.

“After I ended up being £80 out of pocket for a friend’s baby shower, I thought there must be solution out there for this common problem.”

There are a number of apps which claim to alleviate the hassle of group payments by allowing you to split a transaction, but none of them provide the ability to collect money in advance.

“As an organiser, I want to know everyone is paid up before I make a purchase – and I really don’t like having to chase friends to pay me back for things,” added Whitell.

She and Casson effectively began working on the Collctiv concept in November 2018 but a key moment arrived in April when an angel investor came on board which allowed them to develop the initial proposition and get the product to market.

“For the first six weeks we were working from my kitchen table, which soon became untenable and so we moved into our current home in the WeWork Manchester Labs,” said Whitell.

“It has snowballed ever since. We’ve now got five team members and a growing and active user base.”

Collctiv helps organisers to collect money from friends and family in a simple way. The organiser creates a pot and shares a link to that pot in whatever social channel their group is in.

Their friends pay into the pot in less than three taps, without having to download the app.

The iOS and Android versions of the app launched in September and the entrepreneurial duo are initially targeting the student market.

“Keeping the launch focused to one initial sector will enable us to build relationships with initial users and act on their feedback before we start scaling up,” revealed Whitell.

“The main takeaway from the entire process has been to keep it simple and remember the pain point we are trying to solve. Resisting the urge to add on features and over-engineer the app has been the biggest learning curve for us.

“We know now that we must hold on tight to our value proposition and keep things stripped back, making it as easy as possible for group organisers to use.”

Collctiv will be launching its next round of funding in the coming weeks.

Whitell and Casson engaged with branding experts Glorious Creative on user experience which “brought the app to life”.

“For me, good branding is the link between the product and the person. If you have a fintech product like Collctiv that is functionally brilliant, but the design is flawed, then it can really cause friction for the user,” said Whitell.

“By engaging branding experts, you can remove any friction so that it no longer feels like ‘just tech’ but becomes much more engaging and accessible to people.

“Glorious Creative were invaluable in helping us to bring our thoughts and ideas to life through brand creation, logo development, iconography and messaging, and really considered how the app would look and feel on different devices.

“It is so important to get the branding right in tech when digitally savvy consumers expect to have a frictionless and enjoyable experience. If you don’t get it right from the start, then it can alienate entire audiences and people may give up before they have even started.”