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Founders Everywhere: Emma Lawler
Emma Lawler is the co-founder of Velvet–Infrastructure for app developers and growth teams to seamlessly onboard customers, accept payments, and optimize conversion and retention.
Welcome to Founders Everywhere, where we highlight the incredible people behind the companies we’ve backed at Everywhere Ventures, a global pre-seed fund supported by a community of 500 founders and operators.
We use apps on our phones and websites online every day. Do you ever think about the technology required to simply sign up, not to mention make a secure payment? As a consumer, creating an account or making a payment often feels like a high-friction experience. Behind the scenes are teams of engineers building secure infrastructure for identity, authentication, and payments.
Velvet makes online transactions better for everyone by providing user authentication and payments in close to one tap. Developers build on top of Velvet’s hosted checkout pages and SDK to offer a seamless user experience to their end users.
Velvet Co-Founders Emma Lawler and Chris Hendel have led parallel career paths, both serial entrepreneurs with a background in product and tech. They’ve each spent the last decade building accessible app infrastructure at companies like Fitbit, Pebble, MongoDB, and theSkimm.
Emma shares details about their early access product, launching today on Product Hunt! Be sure to click the link to follow their launch and share your feedback.
What is Velvet’s North Star?
Our mission is to make online transactions more delightful, which is broad enough to impact both sides of our business–the developer infrastructure and the end user experience. Given the technology, security, and privacy constraints needed to transact safely online, we’re always thinking about how to make online transactions as seamless and accessible as possible.
Tell us about some recent milestones Velvet’s crushed.
We’re launching Velvet Early Access today, which lets people experience our hosted authentication flow and activate a merchant account. In the coming weeks, we’ll be onboarding merchants so they can authenticate their own users, accept payments, and use our dashboards to optimize conversion and retention metrics.
On the back end, we're building an SDK (software development kit) for cross-platform native transactions. This will let app developers offer one-tap authentication and payments across web, iOS, and Android.
If you’d like early access to Velvet’s SDK, please email us! email@example.com.
Who are your competitors and what sets Velvet apart?
The App Store, Google Play, and Shopify are ecosystems made for developers to easily build apps or enable e-commerce. They provide sophisticated tooling to facilitate online transacts, but are incentivized to keep users within their walled gardens. They're not going to give you neutral tooling to manage user identity, payments, and communication cross-platform.
Point solutions are the other type of competitor we think about. They focus on solving one part of the tech stack like authentication or payments, then leave it to internal teams to build all the connective tissue. Startups still need an expensive team of software engineers, product designers, and product managers just to implement and maintain their cross-platform systems. Internal resources can create far more value when they’re focused on building differentiated features beyond this foundational infrastructure.
We’re creating the interoperable tooling for onboarding, monetization, and retention. Developers use Velvet to leverage the accessibility of an app store across iOS, Android, and web.
What have been some of your greatest challenges founding Velvet?
Chris and I have set out to solve a big problem with very complex infrastructure. There are lots of moving pieces–and we have to design for both app developers and consumers to get it right. We’re taking our time to build the SDK with key startup partners, ensuring they can leverage our infrastructure as a long-term and dependable solution.
We’re building towards an online ecosystem that’s human and seamless, while equally secure and private.
If you’d like to join as an early access partner, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Describe Velvet in one word.
Smooth, obviously 😉
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