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What the Tech? Venmo

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A college football fan is richer after a stunt on ESPN College Football Game Day. Sam Crowder was seen in the background holding a sign that read, "Hi Mom, send beer money". The message was followed by a username on Venmo. Suddenly millions of people around the country must have been asking "What's Venmo?"

""Venmo is an app that lets friends and family securely and easily send money to each other," said Josh Criscoe, a member of the Venmo team. He told me over Skype that most of their users are millenials who wanted an easy way to pay each other back for rent, utilities or anything else that comes up.

"You share a meal and want to split the check at the end, one person can throw down their credit card and then the rest of the people can pay them back with Venmo," he said.

Here's how it works. Sign up with Venmo, add a bank account and you're set. You can charge other users, or pay right in the app. The money goes into a Venmo account.

"If people want to access that money and send it out to their bank account, they can do that with just a quick click," Criscoe explained.

No one seems to know anything about Crowder the sign holder. He hasn't made himself available for interview. I tried reaching him over social media with no luck and Criscoe told me Venmo hasn't been able to reach him either. The Venmo team did donate $50 for beer money or whatever Crowder chooses to spend it on.

Criscoe told me it wasn't a stunt and the company didn't know anything about the sign until they began getting notifications from people familiar with the app.

"It was amazing to see how fast that was taking off, saw payments pouring in," said Criscoe, who was clearly surprised at the attention. He said the company does not release the number of users but did say it was in the millions. Most, he said learned about Venmo by worth of mouth.

"We can share that more than 3,200 people paid him money." Estimates by several media outlets that added up totals that appear in the public newsfeed put the amount at over $22,000 but that has not and cannot be confirmed. Criscoe told us they're not at liberty to add up and release the amount.

After holding his sign, Sam Crowder basically went into hiding. Wereached out to him and so did the folks at Venmo, but he hasn't responded.

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