A Chat with Amy Whitell, CEO and Founder at Group Payments Platform: Collctiv

Amy Wittell

Collctiv was founded in September 2019 by myself and Pete Casson with the aim to tackle the issues organisers face when planning and pre-booking social events, or buying group gifts. Simply, we want to make it possible for groups of people to come together to do the things they love, with the people they love.

We exist to make it quick and easy for organisers of group gifts and events to collect money, whilst also making it quick and easy for those paying into the pot or pool. The organiser downloads the app, creates a pot for the relevant group gift or event and then shares the payment link or QR code with their friends. The rest of the group can then use ApplyPay, GooglePay, or their card details to send their share of the cost. At a glance, the organiser can see who has contributed and how much has been collected.

By removing the stress and hassle from organising, the organiser can focus on making something memorable happen for a group to enjoy. So far, the app has been used to collect money for end-of-year gifts for teachers, hen and stag parties, leaving presents, and work parties, to name just a few.

How did you come up with the idea for Collctiv?

I came up with the idea for Collctiv when I became one of the many organisers who end up out of pocket after putting all the hard work into arranging nice things. In my case, I was arranging a baby shower for a colleague, and was pledged £100 in donations.

Confident in this knowledge, I went out and bought a few well thought-out presents for the baby shower to this value, however when I tried to collect the money, I ended up with a mere £20, £10 of which was mine.

Frustrated and disappointed, this made me wonder why these people, who were genuinely nice people with the funds to give to me, were not giving me the £10 contribution I had been asking for? After much soul searching and some uncomfortable conversations, it soon became clear. There was difficulty, a friction, or a cognitive strain to get the money to me.

Internet banking can be somewhat laborious, requiring one time passcodes and constant flicking back and forth for the details. The alternative was a brown envelope of cash stuffed in my top drawer, which just became a home for the shrapnel people carried in their pockets.

I know people have lots to do, but paying up shouldn’t be a time restrictive, laborious task. That’s why Collctiv was formed, to never leave the organiser out of pocket or wasting their time chasing the pennies that might never come.


How has Collctiv evolved over the last couple of years?

It’s been a rollercoaster ride! As we launched the product just 4 months before Covid, it was challenging to function during a time when meeting in groups became restricted by government legislation. The shining light through this period, was that people used Collctiv for completely new purposes that we hadn’t even imagined.

This galvanised our confidence and belief in the power of bringing people together to shield neighbours, donate to food banks, and contribute to charity events from afar. It was exciting to see that even when people couldn’t socialise in person, they still made extraordinary efforts to show each other that they care, and found new, innovative ways to be together, albeit virtually.

In the wake of the pandemic, I now believe Covid made people realise how important human connections and interactions are, especially with the people that mean the most to them. When Covid came along and took away the freedom to be together as friends, family or colleagues, I think it made people realise just how much they missed being together, doing the things they love.

The growth we have experienced over these last 12-18 months since life returned to our new normal has been staggering, with over 440k users on the app transacting over $20m. We have recently introduced the ability to buy gift vouchers directly from a pot, perfect for end of year teacher gifts or workplace presents whilst also enabling the functionality to send the money collected to another person.

What can we hope to see from Collctiv in the future?

Excitingly, we have just launched in the US! Although individuals have always been able to pay into the app from almost anywhere in the world (88 countries, to be exact), they previously needed a bank account to withdraw money. Now, organisers can download, pay in, and withdraw funds in dollars, as well as spend their pots in a huge range of US specific merchants of physical products and experiences.

We’ve also embarked on the Techstars NYC Accelerator programme as the only British fintech in the cohort. We’re really proud to have been selected, and can’t wait to see where the journey takes us and Collctiv.