The end of online scams may be near

The year was 2016. Conor Lyden, a student, went to buy tickets for a Premier League match. What happened next was the reason he set up his award-winning business. 


Why was the company set up?

I set up the company back in the summer of 2016 when I was accepted into the Ignite Graduate Business Innovation Program in UCC. I always had an entrepreneurial side and this business stemmed from my frustration at the lack of options available to me when I wanted to buy tickets to watch Liverpool games in the UK. I had been scammed a couple of times and I felt there were no suitable solutions for people when they’re buying or selling anything online with people they don’t know, not just tickets.

“Payment apps lack buyer and seller protection.”

What need is the Trustap meeting?

Trustap is a transaction platform that acts as a safety net for customers when they want to buy or sell online with strangers. Trustap works like a personal escrow account. In each transaction, the funds are held during the delivery process, and then once the item has been delivered and the buyer is satisfied or the 24-hour complaints period has elapsed, the funds are released to the seller. This process provides value to customers by eliminating the trust aspect that is currently needed for online transactions with strangers and thus eliminates the chances of the users being scammed and suffering any financial losses.

What is the company’s USP?

Current person-to-person payment systems are meant to be personal, which means that you use the apps exclusively to transfer money back and forth with people you know and trust, such as your friends and family members. It isn’t meant to be used to conduct business with people you don’t know, even if you’re just selling your old bike or extra concert tickets. P2P payment apps lack buyer and seller protection. In fact, in their user agreements, many P2P payment services prohibit you from using their systems for commercial transactions of any kind, and you may forfeit your account if you do. Trustap is specifically designed for transactions with people you don’t know personally.

“There were no suitable solutions for people when they’re buying or selling anything online with people they don’t know.”

How did you go about setting the business up?

Initially I started off on my own but I financed the business through all the grant supports available from my Local Enterprise Office in South Cork and also Enterprise Ireland. Being involved in competitions like the IBYE has also provided the opportunity to pick up some cash prizes too. This financial help coupled with some private investment enabled me to build a team and we’ve been progressing steadily since.

Is this a competitive market?

It is a very competitive market and there are huge players with the majority of the market share like PayPal for example. In saying that, we feel we’ve identified a niche and that we can provide value to people that PayPal and the other competitor platforms can’t.

“Trustap is designed for transactions with people you don’t know personally.”

How do you plan on growing out the business?

More and more people are buying and selling second-hand items online every year because there’s a wider variety of items available and more value to be found in comparison to buying directly from retailers. We expect this growth to continue into 2018 and we hope to use our unique solution to capitalise on the fact that security is becoming a bigger issue for people when they’re doing this buying and selling.

Who inspired you to go into business?

My parents run their own business and I guess I’ve always wanted to follow in their footsteps in some capacity, albeit in a different industry, they’re dentists!

“We feel we’ve identified a niche and that we can provide value to people that PayPal and the other platforms can’t.”

Where do you hope to see the company in the future?

The overall vision of the company is to be the first company to successfully introduce the concept of escrow transactions into personal transactions and to have the Trustap brand associated with all secure peer-to-peer transactions worldwide.

You’ve recently won a few awards, what was that like?

Picking up a couple of awards has been great for the team and shows us how much progress we’ve made over the last 12 months especially. We recently won the local and regional stages, for our category, in Ireland’s Best Young Entrepreneur competition and progressed into the national final which will take place in a couple of weeks.

“The scholarship program provided me with a great platform to grow my business.”

You were also a scholar with Bank of Ireland, correct? How was that experience?

Being a Bank of Ireland Scholar was a hugely beneficial experience for both myself personally and for the development of my business. To have the opportunity to set up a base for my business in a great coworking place like Republic of Work with a network of experienced business people was invaluable.

How did this impact your business?

The scholarship program provided me with a great platform to grow my business. Having the desk in such a good location was helpful but the mentorship and support that was provided to me really helped Trustap progress.

If you are a startup in the south region and need a desk in a vibrant coworking space while tackling a specific business goal, you can apply to be a scholar here.

Pictured above are (l-r): Sean O Sullivan, head of the South Cork Local Enterprise Office; Trustap founder Conor Lyden; and Cllr Declan Hurley, Mayor of Cork County. 

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