Pitchdrive Alumni Interview: Rift Pay

Rift Pay, a Texas-based startup, raised a round through Pitchdrive to solve shared finance between groups once and for all worldwide.

Can you introduce yourself and your co-founder?

Hi, my name is Adoba Yua — CEO of Rift Pay. My cofounders are Bryce DeVaughn (CTO), Haafiz Abdurrahim (CFO) and Deric Richardson-Riddle (COO). We’re based in The Lone Star State itself — Texas, USA.

How did you find each other?

We all attended the same college together, we were long time friends and attended a lot of the same classes and social events together. We’ve worked together on various projects before, I was involved in previous startups with all my co-founders, and so we came together to work on this.

Why did you become an entrepreneur?

Making a difference in the world. I took some time off a few years ago to see what entrepreneurship would look like and saw that I had the ability to create and build things that would impact peoples’ lives. It started with problems I and others around me faced.

What does Rift Pay do?

Rift Pay, creates a sharing environment in the finance industry. We define Rift Pay as a shared banking and mobile payment platform. Banks and financial companies are focused mainly on the individual.

What we want to do is build a product that allows people to share and control money together in basically any scenario they encounter in their lives.

How did you come to this idea?

I think pivoting played a huge role in the idea, we originally set out with a regular split payment company. I saw the pains with split payments and believed splitting should be done beforehand and not after the payment. I also saw that POS’s and financial processors always focussed on a single payment source.

Both of these concepts helped me think about a better way for people to do finance together. Initially I wanted to patent and offer a platform for other finance apps to use, but I called Bryce one day and told him we had to use some of these concepts into Rift Pay and he agreed.

I thought it was crazy that there was no way to do finance together and that banking had not evolved to handle that so many of our modern banking needs are shared, and from this point all of these crazy ideas came together to form Rift Pay.

Why did you want to raise money and what will you do with it?

We wanted to raise money to build our product fast, there is a huge financial barrier entry to the market and it would have been very difficult and much slower to bootstrap. We wanted to build a really good product for our users and had some pre-launch traction so we decided to go into it fully to raise a pre-seed.

Why did you choose Pitchdrive for raising funding?

Interesting story actually! I follow Sar Haribhakti on Twitter, a very smart and insightful thinker who is helpful to founders. There was a discussion there about helping early stage founders involving Bert from Pitchdrive — Pitchdrive caught my eye so I checked them out and we got in touch.

It was a deeply eye-opening process, because although I had talked to several VC’s and Angels, the time from first email to meeting was always unreal. Most VC’s have this 2–3 week period of first communication, but with Pitchdrive it was about a day or two which was crazy. I pitched Rift Pay to them and it picked up from there! It was the smoothest process for a founder you could imagine, especially considering the speed they bring.

I got a very positive impression right from our first few meetings. The VC’s I spoke to had some knowledge of what we were building, but with Pitchdrive it was even more. They understood the concept way better than any VC I spoke to, they asked the hard questions and their experience with finance especially made me believe we were picking the right platform.

Team Rift Pay

Any tips for pitchers that are looking for funding?

Perseverance, a lot of work and bootstrap when you can. Raising funds at a pre-seed level is extremely tough, Pitchbook released a stat saying only 156 companies had raised a pre-seed in the US in the past 12 months!

Get feedback on your idea — reach out to people and build a network. Networking at this stage is extremely important because even if you don’t receive funding through one connection, the impact and the ‘splash’ you make might get you referrals or alert other interested parties. To put it in its simplest terms: build your product and network a lot and you will increase your chances of receiving funding.

Any other interesting things you’d like to share?

Building a company is very hard, I am a very strong believer in working harder than everyone else. I don’t believe we would have raised funding if it wasn’t for long hours put in. I sent countless emails, tons of calls and meetings, spoke to tons of VC’s, joined YC Startup School and even when things didn’t always look good, I pushed on because like many startups (Airbnb, Stripe, Robinhood, …) it only takes one person to believe in you!

It’s easy for you to be at a point of giving up when things are not looking the way you expect. I had to fight through a lot of generic “We are passing on your startup at this stage” and “Not a fit for us at this time” emails, but if you remain passionate about solving a problem, if you are obsessed with what you are building, good things will happen. Nothing is guaranteed, but if you work harder than those around you, you will give yourself as high a chance as possible to succeed.

There is an evolving stigma around working hard, and I do believe it is possible to be working too hard and not smart enough, but I think to achieve the extraordinary you have to go beyond the ordinary. Patrick Collison, cofounder of Stripe, put it best:

“Creating Stripe required obsessive intensity. Maybe better founders could have worked ‘smarter’, but I do know that long hours were needed for *us* to build something great.”

Adoba Yua
CEO, Rift Pay

Does raising early stage funding in 30 days then getting back to growing your business like Rift Pay sound like it could benefit your startup? Sign up today (see below)!

Written by Thomas Wilkinson

Building Pitchdrive. 50% Hacker, 50% Hustler.

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