WePay has increased its addressable market in the small-business sector by about 600,000 through a partnership with e-marketing and website design provider Constant Contact.

"It's a really important move for us. It's a marquee client in the small business category, which has always been our area of expertise," says Bill Clerico, WePay's CEO.

Constant Contact provides information, listing and content management products for small businesses. These include email newsletters and announcements of sales and specials; local offers and promotions, online events and registrations, and feedback and surveys. The company also offers marketing and Web design services.

Constant Contact has partnerships with social networks, merchant Web marketing sites and search engines such as Yahoo, Yelp, Facebook and Foursquare.

"There are hundreds of thousands of small businesses on their platform that we can help accept payments," Clerico says.

Constant Contact charges monthly fees ranging from $20 to $195 based on the package of services that its merchants use. WePay's fees are 2.9% plus $0.30 for credit card payments.

WePay, which recently changed is strategy to focus on working with third-party developers through its application programming interface (API), says this change has been successful so far.

The private payments company is on track to triple its revenue in 2014, and recorded 51% growth from the fourth quarter 2013 to the first quarter 2014, it says in a May 20 release.

"It's a validation of our strategy. We've had a tremendous amount of growth by focusing on our API strategy," Clerico says.

The company is also averaging 35% in monthly growth in its crowdfunding-specific processes and powers eight of the largest crowdfunding platforms. WePay has, however, faced some recent negative publicity over its decision to shut down an adult film actress' crowdfunding campaign over a violation of its terms of service. The actress, Eden Alexander, was raising funds for medical treatment, but violated the terms when she retweeted an offer of nude photos in exchange for donations.

The API model is gaining steam among payment companies, including Stripe and Dwolla. PayPal is also using its acquisition of Braintree to boost its profile in the developer community.

"The API model is clearly the hottest play in payments at the moment as evidenced by the rapid growth and strong valuations of companies like Stripe and Braintree," says Rick Oglesby, a senior analyst and consultant at Double Diamond Group. "WePay is riding wave as well. Coupled with online marketplaces that aggregate volume such as eBay, Amazon, iTunes, GiveForward and many others that provide mass distribution, there's an opportunity for payment solutions to go 'viral.'"


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