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Lemon Raises $8 Million, Launches Wallet App

The app currently backs up financial and purchasing data, but the company hopes to eventually replace physical wallets.

"Wallets are dumb," Wences Casares says.

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Lemon just got some more money for its wallet.

The money management app maker announced Tuesday that it has received $8 million in a series A funding round led by venture capital firm Maveron. Lemon founder and CEO Wences Casares says the new capital will be used to hire more engineers, develop new product offerings, and increase marketing efforts.

The serial entrepreneur also announced the launch of Lemon’s Smarter Wallet–an app that lets users back up their receipts, coupons, tickets, and various payment and identification cards. Smarter Wallet aims to help users quickly access payment information on their phone if their wallet is lost or not on their person.

For now, the app can only serve as an emergency backup, Casares admits: Its photos of a credit or debit card cannot be used to make purchases. But Casares is hoping Smarter Wallet, and Lemon, will eventually allow for such transactions by digitizing a person’s various payment methods.

“We think we are years away from being able to do that,” Casares says.

Casares imagines that one day, when you walk into a certain store, Lemon will be able to remind you about available coupons or deals exclusive to loyalty card holders. In July, the company will start offering product deals offered exclusively through Lemon.

The payment industry has yet to decide upon a standard for digitized credit card payments, Casares says, although he believes an agreement will be reached in several years.

If this occurs, Lemon will be poised to enable app-based, in-store payments for its users immediately, he says. But until then, smartphones can merely house a person’s payment information. “Wallets are dumb,” he says. “You carry a phone that has processing power, storage capacity, connectivity, an amazing screen, but you still have to grab for your wallet. ... [A wallet] is really a primitive system.”

IMAGE: Courtesy Subject
Last updated: Jun 12, 2012

JOHN MCDERMOTT is a business and culture reporter whose work has appeared in the Chicago Tribune and Playboy and on AOL.com. He recently moved from Chicago to Brooklyn, New York, to work for Inc.com.
@J_M_McDermott




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