Control, the ‘Hootsuite of Online Payments,’ Raises Seed Round to Fuel Growth

Control, a management and analytics platform for online payments, has closed an oversubscribed seed round of $1.5 million.

The seed round included investment from Vanedge Capital and Business Development Bank of Canada.

“Control and Kathryn have been on our radar for some time now,” said Amy Rae, principal of Vanedge Capital.

Control empowers merchants to monitor, measure, and manage their online payments from one mobile dashboard available on both iOS and Android. The Vancouver-based startup was founded in 2014.

“Having seen significant and sustained growth since day one, we are now expanding our product to encompass the multiple, relevant form factors our customers are asking for,” said Kathryn Loewen, CEO and founder. “Businesses want access to relevant information within specific contexts.”

To date, Control has helped 20,000 businesses across the world collect more than $9 million in revenue from customers and has forged a strategic partnership with Stripe.

“We are creating a new category of operational & analytics services geared towards the business marketplace,” Loewen added. “A category where information requirements change based on the context of the user and revolve around the most important aspect of a business: payments.”

The funding marks a transformative period for Control as it welcomes to its Board of Directors Rae (Vanedge), Laurie Wallace (Recon Instruments) and Tony VanBrackle (angel investor). The company has also appointed Ian Walker as COO. Walkerhas worked with Invoke Media, Perch, and Hootsuite. Control has also designated Ryan Creamore as Director of Business Development.

Control was recently named one of Canada’s 15 hottest tech startups.

Get Control Of Your Business With the Hootsuite of Mobile Payments

In a global economy where everyone and everything is here and there, Vancouver-based Control places the control back into the hands of the business managers with mobile payment access and upgraded analytic tools.

“We’re seeing all these new types of payment methods in the market,” said Kathryn Loewen, CEO and co-founder of Control, “but one of the commonality amongst all of them is that they are all moving toward open standards.”

Bitcoin, Dwolla, Apply Pay and credit card processors such as Stripe and Paymill have changed the way businesses operate. And as many as 70% of those finance managing companies have chosen an open protocol, which when integrated with Control will offer their users a more diverse payment managing experience. 

Loewen added: “People have called us the HootSuite of payments.”

HootSuite capitalized on their success because they were able to build business applications on top of the Twitter API. At one point, Facebook tried to purchase the social media management dashboard and make them the primary dashboard for Facebook, but Hootsuite declined the offer, knowing that the bigger opportunity comes by connecting to every platform.

Control is doing what Hootsuite did for content developers, social media coordinators, etc. and is applying that model to payment stacks for businesses. And like Hootsuite, Control is “platform agnostic,” which is one of the reasons why they have integrated so well with numerous online payment companies such as Stripe.

Stripe’s easy merchant onboarding makes it simple for users to sign up and for businesses to freely access their API. It was Stripe’s push toward this open API model that shifted the momentum of the industry. Even PayPal—a traditionally closed platform—who’ve spent many years enjoying their monopoly are now participating in this open-data economy.

Moreover, the high demand for quality analytic tools adds another valued element to Control. The same way Hootsuite built better analytics than Twitter, Control refined that aspect for payment platforms.

“We’re solving two problems: Online business managers—who start using Stripe or PayPal to manage their business—they are still dealing with the fact that they are using different platforms or different dashboards to manage all those different payment methods,” said Loewen, “and also, no good mobile app exist for those payment platforms.” 

Although any merchant or business manager can benefit from Control, the most prevalent users are those that run a SAAS, online or global business, which requires the business managers to be somewhat like “modern nomads.” The ability to manage transaction activities directly from the mobile app, while they are on the go, will ease workflow, improve customer service and be more vigilant against fraud through mobile payment.

“Our target market may have a checkout that’s optimized for mobile, they might not, it doesn’t really matter,” said Loewen. “What we really care about is helping them manage their business better.”

Control’s iOS and Android apps are now integrated with Stripe, in addition to being the first Paymill app in Europe. Currently Control is building the control board for the web-based analytics and preparing to launch beta within the next month. By the end of the 2014 Control will go live anywhere Stripe is available as well as targeting the 9 million PayPal merchants across the globe.