The Boost VC-backed Bitcoin startup Lawnmower tracks purchases on a user’s account, rounds them up to the nearest dollar to create spare change, and uses the change to purchase bitcoin on behalf of the user. The bitcoin purchased by Lawnmower will be deposited to a Bitcoin wallet of a user’s choice.
The minimum threshold for bitcoin deposit currently stands at $4, meaning that the accumulated spare change of the transactions must be at least $4 before bitcoins can be purchased by Lawnmower. For example, if a user buys a cup of coffee and a bagel at a local coffee shop worth $7.10, then 90 cents will be categorized as spare change and will be used to purchase bitcoin after the accumulated spare change passes the $4 threshold.
Lawnmower CEO Pieter Gorsira explained that the metaphorical definition of Lawnmower as “working backwards.”It’s like we’re running the lawnmower over the grass and we’re clipping off a little bit of change,” he said. “So, as you go along, we slice all these little blades of grass and collect change from these transactions.”
Lawnmower uses Plaid’s API to integrate bank infrastructure and to access banking data for Wells Fargo, Bank of America, US Bank, Citibank and Chase Bank. The integration of Plaid also allows users to check bank accounts, savings accounts, credit cards and debit cards from the aforementioned banks. If the users do not want their balances from these bank accounts to be rounded off to purchase bitcoin, users can simply turn off the investment function on the app.
Lawnmower’s future revenue model
“We’re live on both platforms now and chose to launch without charging a transaction fee (on each spare change-to-bitcoin purchase, which user’s already pay through Coinbase), a monthly “management” fee, or anything along those lines,” Lawnmower told Bitcoin Magazine via email.
In the future, Lawnmower could generate money through referrals, additional customizability features for users’ spending/investing habits, and other premium features as part of a larger automated money management program, Lawnmower said.
“But we’re really focused on rapid growth now, and don’t want to bog our users down with any additional fees,” the email said.
“We have a lot longer plans once we acquire a user base,” added Gorsira.
The beta version was launched on iPhone on March 25, and several users were allowed to sign up and test the application.
“We need to see what people like or don’t like so we can start adding features,” Gorsira said at that time. “The point is to have users use it, break it and tell us if they like it. [It goes] beyond three people who live in the same room every day. We get kind of hive-minded.”
Weeks later, Lawnmower was launched on Android (a few days ago) to satisfy both sets of users.
Joseph is a web developer and designer, writer and a passionate musician who loves to travel. He has worked as a researcher for a number of venture capital firms and as a freelancer designer for resorts and corporations in Korea and the Philippines.