Paolo Dominguez is a fan of the You Tube, viral video stars known as “The Holderness Family.” He’s so fond of their song parodies and slapstick skits that he was compelled to send them money to keep the fun going.
But, he found, there was no way to do that.
And an idea was born. Why not give creators like the Holderness clan and countless others who share their music, videos, blogs, podcasts, and other work on the internet an easy way to receive donations from their fans?
That was the genesis of Juble it!, a Cincinnati startup that has created a digital crowdfunding tool, the Juble it! button, which can be added to websites so the creators’ audience can easily, in seconds, donate and support them.
“Creators want to express themselves and share their content for free,” Dominguez says. “We can meet them and help them get monetary support from their fan base.”
Dominguez is also a big user of Wikipedia. The user-supported digital reference site mounts a funding campaign every year and, every year, he promised himself he would donate — later.
“Every year I want to give, but ‘later’ never comes.”
It just took too long and was too cumbersome, he explains.
That digital “friction,” the time and effort it takes to make an online donation, is locking up the goodwill that audiences hold for their favorite online creators, he says.
“People do want to support them, but there’s no easy way to do that,” says Dominguez. “We want to make it super fast and super easy.”
The Juble it! product is a short URL that can be posted on social media and websites. Using it can take as little as three seconds to confirm a pledge for payment. The tool does not ask for payment information, but at the end of each month a reminder is sent to the donor, similar to a Facebook “friendaversary” notice. Then the donor submits payment information.
The product has been in beta test mode for the last eight months. Dominguez found that 92 percent of the fans do end up paying what they pledged at the end of a month.
“That’s way more than I thought would,” he says.
That finding gave him the impetus to continue developing the product and begin to market it.
He and co-founder Elliott O’Hara parted ways earlier this year and his new partner, Chris Daniels, comes to the team via Kroger Co., where he was a senior software engineer.
Dominguez has worked in the payment business in sales and strategic roles for the last several years at Vantiv, the $4 billion payment provider that was spun off from Fifth Third Bancorp in 2012. A few mergers and acquisitions later, Vantiv is now called Worldpay, a company that will annually process 40 billion payment transactions around the world.
He’d been contemplating the Juble it! concept for a long time and finally took the plunge, setting up shop in Over-the-Rhine’s Union Hall startup workspace.
“I’ve always had kind of a side hustle,” he says. “I finally said, ‘I feel passionate about this idea and I just need to go do it.’”