Streamlining How We Pay the Bills

Allwyn Lobo and Murali Subbarao

In 2003, Murali Subbarao anticipated that individuals would soon prefer to pay bills online, and he was frustrated by how clumsy the process was. "People were paying bills at the bank website, and the only way you could pay was with your checking account," he says, noting it took days for payments to take effect. He envisioned a way to instantly make a payment at a company's website using credit and debit cards as well as bank transfers. Subbarao, a former finance executive for Hewlett-Packard, used $100,000 of his own money to start Billeo with co-founder Allwyn Lobo. They built a browser application to remember passwords, addresses, and credit-card information. The browser add-on automatically fills out payment forms, saves receipts from purchases, and reminds users when their next payments are due. Billeo makes money by selling branded versions of the add-on to financial companies such as Visa, American Express, and Wells Fargo. Billeo had about $4.3 million in revenue in 2010 from about 40 clients, says Subbarao, 48. The 17-employee company, which is based in Santa Clara, Calif., has raised $11 million from investors, became profitable last September, and has more than 1.4 million users, Subbarao says. He expects revenue to double this year, partly driven by an iPad app slated to launch in September. —Tori Stilwell (posted Aug. 25, 2011)
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