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Finovate Debuts: bleu Unveils its Beacon-powered Point-of-Sale Solution

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The bleu network leverages Bluetooth low-energy beacons to facilitate mobile transactions.

Bleu founder and CEO Sesie Bonsi built his solution around Bluetooth technology because of the way it can move payment data over long distances and ranges. “You can create different experiences and use-cases,” he said. “From a nearby transaction at a fast, casual restaurant terminal to reaching a terminal in a fancier restaurant that may be several meters away.”

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Bleu CEO and co-founder Sesie Bonsi demonstrated his Point of Sale Network at FinovateFall 2015.

Bleu’s network is organized around Bonsi’s idea of the “payment experience.” He points to four features that embody this idea:

  • the ability to use any payment form available; “pure payment-type agnostic,” Bonsi says.
  • the ability to make both prepaid and in-store payments
  • the ability to process payments from any processor in the United States as well as 32 other countries (“pure payment-processor agnostic, as well”)
  • the ability to deliver in-store analytics and intelligent payment data to the merchant

In their demo at FinovateFall 2015, Bonsi and Brett Howell, bleu’s VP of business development, showed a pair of use-cases: a “prepaid” transaction combining an online payment with a beacon payment, and an “in-store” transaction using only the Bluetooth beacon technology.

Company facts:

  • founded in October 2014
  • headquartered in Los Angeles, California
  • Sesie Bonsi is CEO

How it works

Bonsi demonstrated bleu using the PowaPOS T25 platform, providing an “out of the box, plug-and-play POS solution” for merchants. The platform is EMV-ready and features a handheld scanner, integrated thermal printer, and Bluetooth smart-beacon. The beacon is a small wireless device that sends a low-energy Bluetooth signal to the user’s bleu app when a store is entered.

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For the consumer, both iOS and Android bleu apps are available for smartphones and tablets. The app can also be accessed via NFC over the payment beacon itself. Consumers can download the app, choose their preferred payment type, and begin searching for nearby businesses in bleu’s network. For security, payment data is tokenized so that no personally identifiable information is stored on the app or device.

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Consumers browsing through merchants on bleu’s network see a complete mobile storefront with photos and background on the business, and can access reviews from friends and colleagues in their contacts or friends lists.

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Bleu supports both prepaid orders (orders placed outside of beacon range), as well as in-store transactions. A customer can order coffee and a pastry from their favorite cafe, be alerted that the order was received and, thanks to the beacon, have their order moved to the top of the queue when they come near the cafe.

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In-store payments are just as easy. When it comes time to pay, the person operating the point-of-sale terminal uses bleu’s payment beacon to identify and match the transaction with the customer. Bleu sends the customer a payment request through the beacon to their mobile device.

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The customer can add a tip, and pay the bill after authenticating with a fingerprint. Then the customer can send the payment back through the beacon to the merchant’s point of sale.

Bleu also provides merchants with in-store analytics and purchase-data transacted over the network. “We can unlock intelligent payment data about average wait times, menu items, customer demographics and a whole host of other valuable information, instead of just swiping a card,” Bonsi explained.

The future

Bleu is actively raising capital—”funding the revolution” as Bonsi calls it—by seeking investors who see the payment/processor/location-agnostic technology the same way he does, as a”fundamental shift in the entire payment process from start to finish.”

Right now, Bonsi says the technology is an ideal point-of-sale solution for high-volume franchise merchants and enterprises because of its ability to increase transaction speed. He added that non-financial institutions, such as colleges, have also expressed interest in the technology as a way to process students faster and more efficiently at the beginning of the semester.

Bonsai sees a role for bleu in everything from mobile payments to the internet of things. “The bleu network is going to be a core asset in the future of a connected body, home, city, business and industry,” he said. “We envision the bleu network changing the entire payment experience and creating a new platform for mobile transactions.”


Check out the live demonstration video from bleu.