Fintech startup Bucket Technologies will begin testing its digital piggy bank technology starting in June in Northwest Arkansas. The company is headquartered in California, but also has a satellite headquarters in Northwest Arkansas. President and co-founder Francis Hwang relocated to Benton County this past summer. Hwang was introduced to the area because of a relationship with CCF Brands, a consumer packaged goods company based in Rogers. Hwang said CCF leadership invested in Bucket, but the move to Arkansas was not a requirement.
Hwang said the platform will be in “private alpha” testing — meant to work out any bugs — from June through the end of the year, with a nationwide rollout to follow. He said the company has about 25 participating retail partners signed up in the region including Eureka Pizza, 7 Brew Coffee, Chick-fil-A and Bike Rack Brewing Co.
Bucket Technologies’ platform digitizes coin change at the point of sale during retail cash transactions. For example, when a customer buys a cup of coffee for $2.03 and pays with a $5 bill, by asking the cashier to “bucket the change,” the customer gets back two $1 bills and a Bucket receipt with a code to redeem the remaining $0.97 at a later time.
Customers use the Bucket app to scan the receipt’s QR code and deposit the $0.97 to a secure Bucket account. Once the Bucket account reaches $50, users can either deposit it directly into a bank account, donate all or a portion of it to charity or put it on a gift card.
Hwang said the company has partnered with nearly 30 local charities. Fayetteville firm Doxa is also the company’s marketing agency, responsible for a larger marketing push later this summer.
Bucket has raised about $2.5 million in private equity.
“We’re less than 2 years old, so we’re pretty proud of that,” Hwang said. “We are switching to an ICO [initial coin offering] and intend on raising in the ballpark of $33 million of global support to see us through product launch.”
Hwang said the company is also focused on its involvement in the Venture Center’s FinTech Accelerator program in Little Rock. The 10 selected companies were each given $75,000 and are participating in a 12-week program, culminating with a Demo Day in late July at the Clinton Presidential Library, where top executives from each company will make 15-minute “pitches” to dozens of investors, financial services executives and business leaders — hoping to attract new venture capital or partnerships with larger banks or investment groups.