Millennials looking to get ahead may well be advised to put the acquisition of an exotic German sports car, a Rolex watch, or a Giorgio Armani suit on hold and focus, instead, on a tiny card that promises to open a whole new world of riches to its users.
The ‘next best thing’ we are referring to is the Magnises card, the brain-child of New York City technology mogul Billy McFarland.
Unlike traditional credit cards that offer one-off perks such as discounts on travel, flights and hotels, Magnises helps 20-somethings network with each other by offering a host of services including 24/7 concierge service, access to private ‘Magnises Clubhouse’, special treatments, and discounts from more than 100 high-end brands, restaurants and clubs, invitations to exclusive events, and more.
McFarland, a successful Millennial in his own right, founded his first company at the age of 13, an online outsourcing business that matched clients with designers. He dropped out of college at the end of his freshman year to found an online ad platform called Spling where he continues to serve as CE0. His clients in that venture include Discovery and Universal.
The 25-year-old entrepreneur founded Magnises in 2013 and launched the card one year later. He came up with the idea while dining out with some colleagues in New York one night. When it came time to pay the bill, he viewed the assortment of different credit cards and asked his friends how they chose their particular banking establishments. Most offered that they had picked the bank closest to their place of residence. Because we live in a technology-based society, McFarland thought it was folly that banks were chosen on proximity alone. He understood that banking services had become a commodity that affected the lives of millennials. After devising a way to successfully embed a magnetic strip on a metal card, Magnises was born.
Magnises is not an actual credit card, as it is not connected to any financial institution. It, instead, transfers data from an existing card onto the strip of the Magnises card, allowing it to be used in place of the original credit or debit card. The original card continues to operate independent of the Magnises card.
Since its debut in March 2014, Magnises has raised $3 million in funding from investors, including former MasterCard chairman Lance Weaver. The company’s ability to mobilize more than 10,000 members allows users to cash in on advertising fees and brand associations. Magnises currently enjoys partnerships with Samsung, Virgin and Tesla.
The cost of becoming a member is $250 per year. Applicants are chosen by referral from other members and are subject to a vetting process. Magnises is available in New York City and Washington, DC. McFarland is currently working on a plan to make the community-oriented payment tool available to users in Los Angeles, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago and London.
Based on the success of the upstart company over the three years since its launch, McFarland appears to have a good understanding of the needs and aspirations of millennials. Magnises is definitely ‘trending’.
Follow Magnises on Instagram