Northwest Arkansas on Bucket's List

by Arkansas Business Staff  on Monday, Sep. 11, 2017 12:00 am   2 min read

Francis Hwang, co-founder and president of the startup Bucket, moved to Fayetteville in mid-August in preparation for the company’s launch in spring 2018.

Bucket is a digital platform that can be used for coinless transactions in re-tail and banking, with Bucket acting as a cloud-based “piggy bank” for the coins to be used for gift cards, charitable donations or other purposes.

Bucket, founded in Santa Ana, California, will launch in northwest Arkansas because its lead investor is Justin Whaley, CEO of CCF Brands of Bentonville.

Bucket’s big idea is to reduce the misuse of coin currency.

Hwang said studies have shown that approximately $13 billion in coins aren’t in circulation because they are in containers such as jars, cup holders and trash. Hwang said the average American wastes as much as $100 in change a year.

“We want to fundamentally change the way society interacts with coin currency,” Hwang said. “Asking people to not use cash is too big of an ask. The people who still use [coins] think they’re useless, a hassle or they just hate them.”

Customers who pay with cash can have their non-dollar change deposited in a Bucket account.

For instance, if you are due $4.75 in change from Chick-fil-A — the restaurant’s locations in northwest Arkansas have agreed to participate — the 75 cents would go into the Bucket.

When an account balance reaches $50, the user can have the money direct-deposited into a bank account, donated to a charity or converted into a gift card for participating retailers.

“I realized if I wanted to do this in earnest, I needed to put roots down,” Hwang said of his move to Fayetteville.

Hwang, 38, is the only Bucket exec who has moved to northwest Arkansas, but he plans to open offices in Bentonville and Fayetteville for employees based in the area or executives who rotate in during and after the launch.

Hwang expects to have a workforce of 50 to 60 within one year of the launch.

Hwang said he hopes Bucket’s success would reduce the environmental costs of coin production through a reduction in mining and manufacturing, encourage more people to invest money and put $13 billion of currency in circulation.

 

 

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