Trustap: Payments technology for a new breed of online retail

This Cork startup is helping peer-to-peer online merchants inspire consumer confidence with an escrow-type payment app.

Shopping online can be a high-risk activity for your wallet. As more merchants go online, so do scammers for quick profits from faceless consumers. While e-commerce technology has advantages that give anyone the power to trade online, there are increasing risks for businesses and consumers.

Helping to secure our online purchases is Cork Company Trustap. “Trustap is a secure platform for important transactions that completely protects you from being scammed when you want to buy or sell with someone you do not know,” explained CEO and founder Conor Leyden.

“Whether you are buying a watch from someone on Facebook or selling a car in a buy-and-sell market, Trustap can ensure that the transaction is done safely, efficiently and fairly for everyone involved.”

‘We want to become the standard for buying or selling with people you don’t know and can’t trust’
– CONOR LEYDEN

With consumer awareness driving the thrift business online, the timing couldn’t be better for a service like Trustap.

Their platform combines payments (powered by Stripe) with a transaction management system. When a purchase is made with Trustap, the buyer’s money is held in a secure hold account until all transaction milestones are met. For example, the seller shipped the item and entered the tracking details within a set time limit. Once the shipment is delivered and a claims period has elapsed, the payment is released to the seller.

The platform is widely supported on all devices and can even be used for in-person transactions, in which case the money is released once the transfer is confirmed.

In addition to its own applications, Trustap is available as an end-to-end payment solution for markets. It is also capable of processing transactions in multiple currencies and through various payment methods.

“There are several payment platforms in recent years that have gained popularity for their elegant interfaces and the ease with which they can be used to send money between friends and family,” said Leydn. “At Trustap, we want to become the standard for buying or selling with people you don’t know and can’t trust.”

Increasing consumer confidence in digital transactions is not the only recent phenomenon driving Trustap’s success.

“We were very fortunate as a company that the pandemic influenced a huge acceleration in digital adoption,” Leyden said. “As companies embrace his business model to facilitate online transactions, he has created several partnerships for us, including Preloved.”

Preloved is a major online second-hand market in the UK, with a user base of 9 million. Trustap is now directly integrated into Preloved, giving these millions a little more confidence when shopping.

‘There was supports available to me when I was starting my business that would not have been around 10 years earlier’
– CONOR LEYDEN

First-time founder Leyden developed the initial concept for Trustap while studying at University College Cork (UCC). He graduated in 2016 with a degree in civil engineering and with the desire to take a step forward as an entrepreneur. This led him to Turn on, a UCC graduate business incubator.

“From there, the idea became a business and growth started after I left Ignite and we started working on the product,” Leyden said.

Trustap was officially founded in 2017 and Leyden joined an acceleration program in Austin, Texas and started creating quite a stir as a young entrepreneur to watch.

“The biggest challenge for me as CEO of Trustap, especially in the early stages, was acquiring as much knowledge as possible in every part of the business,” he said. “In a startup, you need to know sales, marketing, finance, human resources, and any technical issues as well as you know your particular product or service.”

Upon returning to his native Cork and continuing to hone his skills, Leyden participated in CorkBIC’s 2019 Security Accelerator, where Trustap was named Most Invertible Company.

Investors have taken notice, with over € 2 million in seed funding secured for the company. Its early investors include Enterprise Ireland and fellow Cork entrepreneur Liam Casey, who was also an early investor in Stripe.

With this funding in place, Leyden is now growing the team and preparing the company for international markets, but Cork is where the heart and headquarters of the company are.

Having doubled in size in the space of a year, the company opened a new office on St Patrick’s Quay in Cork City. It also operates from centers in the UK, Croatia and the US.

Leyden said he finds the startup scene he’s in has “dramatically improved” in recent years, revealing another way he’s been blessed with good times.

“I am fortunate that there was supports available to me when I started my business that would not have been around 10 years earlier,” he said.

“I believe that the city of Cork and Ireland, despite this progress, can still do much more to foster entrepreneurship at the third level and create an environment where bright young people genuinely see it as a career path,” he added. .

Trustap’s immediate plan is to secure more partnerships with online marketplaces classified as Preloved. In particular, those who don’t have the resources to build something like Trustap in-house.

Leyden also expects to close the year with a € 10 million Series A round, which will allow for further expansion and fulfillment of his plans to bring his team to 50 people.

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