By:  Kate Hayden | Staff Writer for Business Record

The Ames-based startup PeachPay is building a one-click payment solution for small merchants trying to operate on one of the largest e-commerce providers on the web.

Co-founders and 2020 college graduates Aaryaman Anerao and David Mainayar connected through an internship at Kiwi Campus, a California-based startup designing food delivery robotics. Anerao graduated from Iowa State University and introduced fellow graduate John Jago to Mainayar as the three began discussing forming their own startup.

Small businesses were shuffling resources to expand their presence on e-commerce websites as the COVID-19 pandemic pushed consumer shopping online. At the same time, the majority of digital cart abandonments were happening when customers were asked to create individual accounts at each merchant site to avoid plugging in the same payment and shipping information, said Anerao, CEO.

“When you’re shopping through multiple small e-commerce sites, you’re probably not making an account with them,” he said.

Anerao, Mainayar and Jago developed PeachPay, a website plug-in designed to allow one-click purchases for consumers no matter what merchant website they visit. In April, PeachPay received an initial investment from Automattic, which owns both web publishing platform WordPress and its WooCommerce marketplace tool.

PeachPay first integrated with WooCommerce and the payment processor Stripe: WooCommerce hosts an estimated 5 million e-commerce stores, which gives PeachPay a wide network of potential customers, expanding the usefulness of the one-click plug-in for website visitors. Stripe, the payment processor, stores customers’ payment information and handles the payment transaction between merchant and customer.

“A lot of these smaller e-commerce stores didn’t have the leverage in the e-commerce game,” Anerao said. “We’re not just building the payment piece, but also the post-checkout.”

By the end of 2021, PeachPay’s goal is to integrate with 50,000 stores. From launch in January to early May, PeachPay has onboarded 150 e-commerce merchants with a white-label version of the one-click plug-in; another 1,000 stores are in the process of establishing PeachPay’s plug-in in their e-commerce site. With investment from a recent seed round, the company anticipates five to 10 staff members in full- and part-time roles to scale the platform on WooCommerce and into a mobile app.

PeachPay is currently limited to any stores already hosted on the Stripe and WooCommerce networks. Building a presence with other e-commerce hosting sites, such as Wix or Shopify, and payment processors, including PayPal, will be key to growing PeachPay’s network, Anerao said.

“We want to double down on the local ecosystem,” Anerao said. “During the pandemic, a lot of store owners were really skeptical of trying new things — when the core business is suffering, you don’t want to try a lot of new things. But now we’re starting to see that change. They have already opted for some solution, and they’re more open to a solution like ours.”