Jason Del Rey

Recent Posts by Jason Del Rey

Here’s the Bizarre Commercial From Clinkle, the Stealth Payments Startup That Richard Branson Just Backed

duplan and branson

Ask Clinkle CEO Lucas Duplan why he still won’t explain how his yet-to-launch payments app Clinkle will work, and this is the answer he’ll give you:

“We really want to make sure we test everything before we start hyping it,” Duplan said in an interview this week.

That sounds like a logical answer, except Duplan and company continue to add hype to the stealth mobile payments startup.

This week’s cases in point: First, Clinkle is announcing that famed entrepreneur Richard Branson is making a personal investment in the app. Duplan won’t say how much Branson is contributing, but it is in addition to the previous investment round Clinkle raised. (Clinkle and Duplan had pegged that seed round at $25 million, but documents filed with the SEC earlier this month indicated that the round actually totaled $27 million.)

Duplan also wants you to know that 100,000 people have signed up to wait behind the app’s digital velvet rope — a.k.a. its waiting list.

To celebrate that milestone, Duplan and his head of design created the concept for a two-minute commercial that’s going live today on Clinkle’s website. Asked how much time he spent on it, Duplan said, “Probably more than I should have.”

The video, produced by an outside video company, is apparently supposed to arouse a feeling of unity and rally all of us around … something.

“In order for this to work, we need everyone to buy in,” Duplan said in an interview, attempting to explain the idea behind the video. “It’s really important to rally and get everyone behind the movement. Because our network is only as good as the people on it.”

Of course, all of this sounds kind of silly coming from a company that still hasn’t explained exactly how its app will work (though Valleywag dug up some details in July.)

Marketing a payments app as a technology that can transform the world is fine. As long as that long-shot of a reality actually comes to fruition.

Here’s the Clinkle commercial, starring some nice-looking folks with disappearing heads:

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— Author Tim Kreider on not getting paid for one’s work