Accelerator Spotlight: Waivr

We recently wrapped our 2022 Everyday Economy Accelerator program. To celebrate this cohort’s graduation, we will be spotlighting each team on the NextView blog over the course of the next few weeks.

These interviews were conducted halfway through the 12-week program, and they provide a human snapshot into the minds of our driven, dedicated, determined accelerator founders. Real people, building real companies, which are really redesigning the Everyday Economy. So without further ado, let’s jump right in and meet Carolina and Brenna, shall we?

Company: Waivr

Founders: Carolina Nucamendi & Brenna Curran

“Waivr is building the payments infrastructure for the next generation of recurring payments businesses. There’s a new set of real-time payments protocols which Waiver is making more broadly available to bring fast, secure, and cost-effective payments to a range of applications.”

– Lee Hower

Get to know the business

Rachel Hodes (RH): What problem exists in the market that your business is trying to solve?

Carolina Nucamendi (CN): Recurrent payments are historically unreliable, 35% of them fail. They are also expensive, costing merchants 3-4% of each transaction, and they move slowly, it can take a merchant up to 8 days to access funds after a transaction occurs.

RH: How is your company planning to solve this problem? 

Brenna Curran (BC): Waivr is modernizing the 60+ year old recurring payments infrastructure by enabling merchants to transact through the Real-Time Payments network, delivering lower transaction costs, eliminating bounce rates, and providing instant fund disbursement to merchants.

RH: Who are your customers?

CN: Subscription businesses, buy now pay laters, any business that transacts on a recurring basis with the customers

RH: And last but not least, why should the world care about this problem and how you’re solving it? Feel free to speak to the potential economic impacts, environmental impacts, social/political impacts, etc. 

BC: People don’t necessarily realize that in 2022 we’re transacting our everyday payments through a network that was created in the 1950s, the card network. Old technology is very inefficient by today’s standards, and the card network is no exception. It just wasn’t designed for the type of recurrency that the subscription economy has shifted our financial lives to. The way we see it, how we transact has exponentially evolved, but the way payments are processed hasn’t, so you end up with a huge misalignment and a multitude of issues. At Waivr we’re modernizing how subscription payments are processed, to match the needs of today’s economy.


Get to know the founders

RH: Founders, please introduce yourselves.

CN: Carolina, Co-Founder and CEO. I was born and raised in Villahermosa, Tabasco, a small city by the Gulf of Mexico. I moved to LA for an internship after college and have been in LA for 10+ years. I love LA, mostly because I think of it as a place that gave me a lot of opportunities, and a place that I find very inspiring, you can feel creativity everywhere, so I’ve found it to be a great place to be an entrepreneur.

I only worked at really big companies before I founded Waivr, so the startup world is all sorts of fun and interesting to me. It’s really hard to innovate at large companies and I really enjoy the ability to think about new ideas, new products, and try new things. I’ve always thought of myself as a creative person, so in different ways, I find the work very fulfilling.

RH: What’s your favorite thing about being an early-stage founder? And your least?

CN: I generally enjoy all parts of being an early-stage founder, you’re all kinds of free and perhaps really naive, which is just a really great mindset for innovation. It’s an emotional rollercoaster, but I actually kind of enjoy that. In a way I think being an immigrant really prepares you to be a founder, you get really used to emotional ups and downs, to not having a real sense of security, to taking things one day at a time, and adapting your path to achieve your goals. The lows can be really low, so perhaps that’s my least favorite part, but that’s life, even the things you love aren’t perfect.

RH: What show are you watching right now/what book are you reading right now? Would you recommend it? 

CN: I’m watching the last season of Better Call Saul. I highly recommend the whole Breaking Bad franchise, it’s really well written.

In all honesty, I don’t read too many books, I listen to a lot of music, I recently discovered The Marias which I highly recommend and Goldroom is one of my favorite artists ever. Both LA-based, they have similar vibes, and it’s great music for when you need to decompress or write.

RH: Founders, please introduce yourselves.

BC: Brenna, Co-Founder and CPO. I grew up outside of Philadelphia, went to Cornell University for college, and then lived in Manhattan for 4 years post-grad. While in NY, I worked at Deloitte, consulting for financial services institutions, and quickly found my way into product. I had an itch to ship off across the country, so to San Francisco I drove a trusty Kia. My first consulting gig in SF was…of course… traveling to LA. Where I met Carolina! We were working on CNB’s new mobile banking app. I left Deloitte and worked as a PM at Figure Technologies before joining Carolina full-time at Waivr in 2020. I’m still in SF, while she’s in LA, but that doesn’t stop us from monthly meetups and 7+ zooms/phone calls every day.

RH: What’s your favorite thing about being an early-stage founder? And your least?

BC: My mom actually just shared a few childhood videos where I insisted on “doing it myself,” one of which may have consisted of me demanding my rollerskate kneepads belonged on my shoulders 🤷‍♀️. Point being – I’ve always wanted to start something myself that’s different from what already exists, and hopefully, something that helps people. I think it’s pretty cool that Carolina and I are getting to do this, even if at times the path forward feels wildly ambiguous and unsurmountable. I guess that sums up my favorite and least favorite parts about being an early-stage founder. 

RH: What show are you watching right now/what book are you reading right now? Would you recommend it? 

BC: I’m currently watching Severance – yes I recommend, and am reading Know One Asked for This, by Cazzie David (Larry David’s daughter), and no, I wouldn’t necessarily recommend it, but neither does she!


Looking Ahead 

RH: What are you hoping to learn/get out of your time in the NextView Everyday Economy Accelerator?

CN: At this early stage, a big part of our job is avoiding mistakes and making decisions at the right time, which in theory should be easy but in practice, it can be very difficult because there’s just so much going on early on. There’s just such an advantage that a founder has when they’ve done this before because it makes it so much easier to spot those mistakes or decisions. As first-time founders we don’t have that advantage. Investors, like the team at Nextview, bring a seasoned and realistic perspective having seen so many angles of early-stage startups.

RH: Close your eyes and imagine where your business will be in five years. What’s the same and what’s different?

BC: The product and the company will have likely evolved, but our hope is that current team is still there and we still like working with each other, and if that’s the case, that will be a success.

For more on Waivr, be sure to follow them on LinkedIn and Twitter. And for more from Brenna and Carolina, be sure to connect with them on LinkedIn and Twitter.