Poker Game Spawns Fintech

Note from the Publisher:  We do believe that when you are loose and just being real, that the greatest ideas come to you.  I have a little secret to that end – my husband’s best ideas come when he is in the shower, and mine come when I’m hanging on our deck feeding our resident flock of (now) domesticated mourning doves and enjoying the sky and clouds.  So, I loved this story about Yapstone’s founder getting an idea for a new fintech while playing poker with some buddies. 

“Back in 1999, Tom Villante, a former investment banker at S.G. Warburg and a partner at private-equity firm The Seidler Co., was sitting around with a few buddies playing poker and talking about businesses they could start. As the cash moved around the table, Villante recalls, the conversation turned to PayPal and markets that might move away from getting payments by check. “I didn’t want to do anything that couldn’t scale,” he says.

So Villante, now 48 and the company’s CEO, started YapStone, jauntily named after the currency stones used on the island of Yap in Micronesia. Villante started by targeting large apartment REITs, with a hundred thousand units or more, doing not just the payments, but the complex accounting required to deal with prorated rent, security deposits and eviction proceedings. At the time, he recalls, he was fighting an industry that still relied on paper checks.

Today, the Walnut Creek, Calif.-based company offers a secure online payment service for transactions to vacation homes, through clients like HomeAway and VRBO, and multi-family apartment rentals. In addition to those businesses, YapStone also offers online payment processing for churches called ParishPay, which serves more than 1,000 parishes across the United States.”

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