When the first ATM was opened at Chemical Bank in Rockville Centre, New York, in September of 1969, no one would have predicted that someday people would be able to make financial transactions on a small “smart” device they could carry around in their pocket.
Fast forward 45 years or so, when D’Ontra Hughes, now the founder and CEO of SPARE CS, Inc., was working in a hotel bar. He frequently had to send customers across the street to an ATM when they needed cash. Hughes began to think about ATMs, some of the access and security issues, fees for using machines not connected with a person’s bank account and all the other factors involved in getting cash when it is needed.
Combining this line of thought with the rapidly growing use of iPhones, computers and other devices to perform financial transactions, Hughes worked on developing an iPhone app that would replace the familiar ATM connected to a financial institution.
The app was created, beta tested and launched in 2015. SPARE CS, Inc. participated in the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain in February of 2016, taking part in a startup showcase called “4 Years From Now.” Richard Trenholm of Cnet.com met Hughes there and featured SPARE in an article on February 25, 2016, titled “SPARE app cuts out the ATM so you withdraw cash from your nearest shop.” Hughes participated in Money20/20 2017 in Las Vegas and was named winner of Startup Pitch 2017 on Oct 22, 2017.
SPARE is simple to use. The user enters the amount of cash needed. GPS directions to the nearest registered shop and a one-time PIN are provided. After the PIN is shown to the shopkeeper, money is given to the user. Businesses are paid by SPARE to be a registered shop and benefit from increased foot traffic.
Hughes describes himself as a fin-tech entrepreneur driven by the world of innovation with a focus on disrupting current business models. Creating an ATM that fits into your pocket certainly fits that description.