Bill Payment App Papaya Raises $50 Million To Pay Your Parking Ticket

Keerthi Vedantam

Keerthi Vedantam is a bioscience reporter at dot.LA. She cut her teeth covering everything from cloud computing to 5G in San Francisco and Seattle. Before she covered tech, Keerthi reported on tribal lands and congressional policy in Washington, D.C. Connect with her on Twitter, Clubhouse (@keerthivedantam) or Signal at 408-470-0776.

Bill Payment App Papaya Raises $50 Million To Pay Your Parking Ticket
Photo by Andras Vas on Unsplash

If you’ve ever gotten a parking ticket in Las Vegas, you’ve probably heard of Papaya.

The fintech company based in Los Angeles can be found on every parking ticket in Las Vegas to make it easier for people to pay their fine.

The company has long been in the business of advertising itself with some of the worst financial news a person can get: a parking ticket, an unexpected hospital bill, or a forgotten utilities fee. The goal is to make hard-to-track paper bills easier to pay. On Wednesday, it announced it raised a $50 million Series B round from Bessemer Ventures with additional funds from the likes of Sequoia Capital and Sound Ventures.

“Finances is the number one cause of stress for most families more than anything else. And the second keep being bills, especially paper bills, is a significant component of that stress,” said Josh Mittler Papaya’s head of business operations. “We've seen that massive opportunity to ease financial burdens and create a way for Americans to easily pay bills. It is really what led to the founding.”

The company was founded by Patrick Kann and Jason Metzler in 2016 after Kann moved to the U.S. from Brazil. Brazil’s bill pay system is one online centralized portal, and paper bills came with a scannable barcode that make the process of paying paper and online bills relatively seamless. By comparison, the U.S. has multiple fragmented systems for paying rent, utilities and for health care services that are scattered across online portals and mailing checks.

Through the Papaya app, users can take a picture of their bill and type in the amount they want to pay and fulfill that bill payment as long as the end user has a mailing address or an online payment portal. Papaya doesn’t need to have a partnership or integration with any specific bill, and users don’t need to log in or connect to those bill payment systems.

Using optical character recognition, the software enables the app to look at every bill — no matter what the format is — and recognize each piece of information. You could, theoretically, rip up your bill and rearrange the pieces, and the software would still recognize your name, address and the bill amount.

This gives Papaya the flexibility to pay all kinds of bills for all kinds of companies, no matter what they look like.

“We increase their volume of payments that go through Papaya versus their traditional means of web portals, paper checks or phone calls,” Mittler said. “We help businesses get paid faster and more often.”

Papaya uses user data to create new products. It also reserves the right to share personal information with third party service providers, per its privacy statement.

The raise will go towards expanding Papaya’s 80-person team (particularly in the product and engineering departments) and expanding its partnerships. The company has partnered with large municipalities and health care organizations that will direct people to pay via Papaya on their paper bill statements.

Correction: An earlier version incorrectly stated that Las Vegas tickets include QR codes on their parking tickets. The story has also been updated to add the correct link to its privacy policy and clarify the policy.

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Astrolab's New SpaceX-backed Rover Could Change Space Exploration Forever

Lon Harris
Lon Harris is a contributor to dot.LA. His work has also appeared on ScreenJunkies, RottenTomatoes and Inside Streaming.
Astrolab's New SpaceX-backed Rover Could Change Space Exploration Forever
Photo by Samson Amore

This is the web version of dot.LA’s daily newsletter. Sign up to get the latest news on Southern California’s tech, startup and venture capital scene.

Local Los Angeles-area startup Astrolab Inc. has designed a new lunar vehicle called FLEX, short for Flexible Logistics and Exploration Rover. About the size of a Jeep Wrangler, FLEX is designed to move cargo around the surface of the moon on assignment. It’s a bit larger than NASA’s Mars rovers, like Perseverance, but as it’s designed for transport and mobility rather than precision measurement, it can travel much faster, at speeds of up to 15 miles per hour across the lunar surface.

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Meet the Creator Economy’s Version of LinkedIn

Kristin Snyder

Kristin Snyder is dot.LA's 2022/23 Editorial Fellow. She previously interned with Tiger Oak Media and led the arts section for UCLA's Daily Bruin.

Meet the Creator Economy’s Version of LinkedIn

This is the web version of dot.LA’s daily newsletter. Sign up to get the latest news on Southern California’s tech, startup and venture capital scene.

LinkedIn hasn’t caught on with Gen Z—in fact, 96% rarely use their existing account.

Considering 25% of young people want to be full-time content creators and most influencers aren’t active on LinkedIn, traditional networking sites aren’t likely to meet these needs.

Enter CreatorLand.

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This Week in ‘Raises’: Total Network Services Gains $9M, Autio Secures $5.9M

Decerry Donato

Decerry Donato is a reporter at dot.LA. Prior to that, she was an editorial fellow at the company. Decerry received her bachelor's degree in literary journalism from the University of California, Irvine. She continues to write stories to inform the community about issues or events that take place in the L.A. area. On the weekends, she can be found hiking in the Angeles National forest or sifting through racks at your local thrift store.

This Week in ‘Raises’: Total Network Services Gains $9M, Autio Secures $5.9M
This Week in ‘Raises’:

It has been a slow week in funding, but a local decentralized computing network managed to land $9 million to accelerate deployment of its new product called Universal Communication Identifier (UCID™). Another local company that secured capital included Kevin Costner’s location-based audio storytelling platform and the funding will go toward expanding the app’s content library and expanding into additional regions in the United States.

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