Managing a Small Business
'Appathon' Brings Apple Pay to Small Businesses
Teamed With Developers, Owners Create Mobile Payment Apps
In early November, Chase Paymentech tapped into a Silicon Valley trend when it held its first “Appathon” at Code and Canvas, an art-tech space in San Francisco. Experienced developers, along with students seeking experience, were paired with small business owners who were eager to have apps for their businesses.
"We're excited to partner with Apple Pay to bring the future of mobile payments to all of our vendors and customers," said Avin Arumugam, Head of Next Generation Payments Products at JPMorgan Chase.
At the Appathon, the owners of five small businesses that use Chase Paymentech each met with a developer to create an iOS app that integrates with Apple Pay. The merchants ranged from a family-owned electric supply company to a growing chain of vegan restaurants. After intense discussion, designing and a full day of coding, each developer-business team successfully created an Apple Pay-integrated app.
Tony and Ray Leong, father and son owners of Safeco Electric Supply in San Francisco, said they attended the Appathon hoping to be able to begin accepting mobile payments.
"We're looking to be on the forefront of payment technology," Ray Leong said. "We're really glad this Appathon is being offered. Mobile payments have always been in the back of our minds, but it's great that Chase created this event because as a small business, we don't have the time or resources to put something like this together."
The Leongs were paired with freelance programmer Cristian Monterroza, who attended the Appathon to put his iOS app development skills to good use and learn more about the Apple Pay SDK (Software Development Kit). For Monterroza, the Apple Pay experience is important to developers because it "democratizes" the mobile payments experience, which he said once was viewed as a luxury feature.
Freelance developer Paul Sukhanov said he came to the Appathon to get hands-on experience with Apple Pay technology. "What has surprised me the most is how easy it is to incorporate the Apple SDK into an app," he said. "Even developers not familiar with payments apps can use the SDK without a problem."
Sukhanov spent the day with Larry Fowler, manager of United Coach Tours, a San Francisco-based charter bus service. After some brainstorming, Sukhanov extended the company's online reservation and payments system into a simple, easy-to-use Apple Pay-integrated app.
When the time came to present the final apps, Ray Leong enthusiastically showed off the sleek iOS app that Monterroza had built: A simple, streamlined app that lets a customer select and buy electrical and construction equipment.
"This is just the beginning," said Tony Leong. "We are just trying to learn as much as we can about this new technology so we can better serve our customers."
Visit Chase Paymentech to learn more about Apple Pay for Businesses.
Preeti Upadhyaya is a freelance journalist who has reported for the Silicon Valley Business Journal, MarketWatch and WBEZ Radio.