A Waterloo-based ecommerce startup is claiming to be one of the first companies in Canada to accept bitcoins as payment.
Cofounders Ahmad Elkhatib and Tarek Attia incorporated Club Parker three months ago. They ship savvy razors to consumers for a fraction of the cost of a pack of Gillettes every month. For example, one of their three subscription packages, “The Baby”, costs just $3 per month (including shipping and taxes).
The angel-backed startup is now offering a three-month subscription for a one-time payment of roughly 0.4 bit coins.
“We’ll be one of the first independent online ecommerce sites that will be accepting bitcoins, so were pretty excited,” Attia told Techvibes. “We figure that this could be a very big market that could be a huge currency in the future, and we want to be the first ones to give people that option to purchase.”
Last time Techvibes reported on the new virtual currency based on a mathematical formula, a Canadian man in Alberta was trying to sell his house for bitcoins. The decentralized currency’s value dropped by over $100 today after skyrocketing to more than $200. As of this afternoon it was valued at about $160.
Bitcoins were created as an answer to irresponsible bankers and financial crises like those in Cyprus and Greece. Bitcoins are not backed by a financial institution and there is currently 11 million in circulation.
They’re traded person-to-person (P2P) and must be purchased through an online market. The coins are generated through a process called “mining”, where a user gives their computer’s processing power to Bitcoin so it can solve mathematical problems required to validate transactions. Coins are issued as rewards when a problem is solved
Meanwhile in Waterloo, Club Parker has steadily been refining their platform since gaining a seed round of angel funding worth $40,000.
Attia and Elkhatib met as children and eventually went to high school together. They both pursued athletic careers before founding Club Parker. Elkhatib played semi-professional soccer in Waterloo while Attia holds eight world records in powerlifting, although “really nobody cares because it’s not an Olympic sport”, he said.
They started the company based on a belief that large body care corporations should be held “responsible, liable and accountable” in what they charge consumers.
“Unfortunately in todays world there has to be a sacrifice of quality of intimate objects that we use on our bodies in order to save some money,” said Attia. “I don’t think that’s very fair.”
The pair conducted market research for seven months before finally launching earlier this year. Along with the “The Baby” they offer “The Artist” package that features their best-selling wooden handle, sure to appeal to hipsters. The most expensive package, “The Expert”, costs $12 per month and features more stainless steel blades and a trimmer.
Club Parker’s vision is to tackle several hygiene products but Attia and Elkhatib decided to pursue razors first, given that for many men it’s a daily ritual. “If we can establish our quality, image and mission we can add on any brand after that and our user base will recognize us and fell comfortable to follow us,” explained Attia.
Within the next two years they want to hit the American and Australian markets, having resisting several requests to move to either country already. For now they reside out of Communitech’s Hyperdrive space. From a simple concept nine months ago they’ve come a long way.
“Now that the numbers are actually proving themselves it has been a successful jump from concept stage to established business,” said Elkhatib.