Moocho – SoLoMo payments startup

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There are three big trends in commerce these days encapsulated in the acronym SoLoMo – Social, Local and Mobile. The big trend in payments is for a digital wallet so that you can pay anywhere anytime without needing to carry a physical wallet around.

What no one has done so far is to connect SoLoMo commerce with payments, but now Moocho has found a way to cross Facebook with Square and create a totally new payment phenomenon. Reminiscent of how Facebook started Moocho has introduced a seamless mobile payment app at seven major US universities. The program also gives students access to exclusive discounts on everyday purchases.

With Moocho Open Tab technology, students can make purchases at Moocho merchants by just using their name. It’s like the old days when it was common to say, “Put it on my tab” at the pub. This makes a Moocho Open Tab purchase simple, convenient and fast. Plus with Moocho Open Tab students accumulate loyalty rewards with each purchase.

Students sign up for a free Moocho Open Tab account at by linking a credit or debit card to their account. Each student immediately receives $1 to $5 free credit at every participating merchant and access to exclusive discounts. Plus, every purchase earns more credit to use next time.

For those financially strapped students with amenable parents Moocho has also introduced “Parent Mooch”. With this program parents automatically pay for food and groceries at any participating Moocho merchant.

I have to admit to a certain amount of skepticism whenever I’m told of the latest great idea. However there are a number of key pointers that could make Moocho a success. Firstly students are naturally some of the most avid consumers of technology, that’s partly what made Facebook a success. Students are open to new ideas and will share them with their friends until everyone is in on the latest craze.

More importantly the team behind Moocho aren’t strangers to building and growing a technology company. Matt Levenson, Moocho’s Founder and CEO, was the founding COO for StubHub which sold to eBay for over $300 million and he’s not the only one in the Moocho management team that came from StubHub.

By launching at Colorado State University, Ohio State University, University of California, Berkeley, University of Pittsburgh, University of Virginia, University of Wisconsin – Madison and West Virginia University Moocho have pretty much cancelled out their competition. They’re starting small but expansion to other universities will be easy.

Of course one day their early customers will grow up and leave university and the chances are that in a few years time Moocho could expand beyond their academic target market and we could all be Mooching. Once upon a time access to Facebook was only through academic institutions and look what happened there.

2 Responses

  1. Why wouldn’t the merchants just accept credit cards directly and give you a discount themselves? I see no purpose of this. The only benefit I see is the parents part but all they have to do is send you a prepaid credit card and accomplish the same thing.

    There was something similar at my university around 8 years ago except instead of money being charged to your credit card it was charged to your meal plan. Merchants gave discounts and you presented them with your student id.

  2. @ebuyerfb, I think if you read the article again with your question in mind, you’ll discover the answer.



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