BumPal, Bummo

i had this idea that was cool, “game-changing” (ughh), etc. but it woulda taken way too many resources for me to execute by myself

the idea came to me when i was sitting in the patio of a starbucks and a homeless man walked up to me, asking for spare change on the other side of the fence. i’m not a fan of this kind of panhandling — it’s rude and can be somewhat scary.

so there’s a popular app that i love called “venmo,” which allows the user to send money (without fees) to friends. the best part of the app (besides the no-fees thing) is the social aspect. so you can pay someone and then tweet a message. these messages get pretty creative (and lewd)

i sketched up the idea waaaay back in may of 2011. the name was going to be bumpal (paypal) or bummo (venmo)


here’s a quick rundown of the panels:

  1. a homeless person has a large sign with his bummo userID, which he obtained through a homeless shelter
  2. a man on the street is in a giving mood and whips out his phone
  3. he enters the person’s userID and the amount and clicks OK — it could be as simple as that
  4. the homeless person has a card that works similar to a debit card or WIC card that gets the money loaded
  5. the gifter feels like a saint
  6. what DOESN’T HAPPEN is the homeless man vomitting on the man


in telling friends about this idea, a lot of issues would be raised… here are a few items:

  • a homeless person would get capped out at a certain limit (we’re not trying to give him TOO much money now)
  • the card would only work on approved items: specific food items, clothing, etc.
  • taxes? eep… i don’t even want to deal…
  • we’d make money by having all the money in a high yield savings account and we take the interest (i believe this is how paypal and venmo work — i’m not too sure)

so recently, greg, who has his finger on the pulse of all-things entrepreneurship/startups, sent me this link

this looks oddly familiar to my idea

am i mad? no. i’m happy actually. i wish them well.

i still don’t like their idea of the homeless person handing out cards. it’s an element of interaction i was trying to get rid of. most people try to avoid interactions with homeless folks. it’s kinda bad, but it’s true.

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