Over the last few days Natalie and I have found a few more competitors and learned lots about the ones we had already identified. There are many companies out there with the same story of supporting philanthropic fundraising or donations to bloggers, etc. each with a slightly different twist.
The one competitor closest to our approach is ChipIn (http://www.chipin.com). They have similar ideas to ours of delivering their functionality via widgets embedded in other social networking sites. However, they seem to have totally missed the opportunity of using their technology to collect money for more structured purposes i.e. collecting specific set amount fees for various activities in a team or group.
This is very encouraging to me. We may have found our niche in the larger universe of money collection and fundraising. Every one of the people I have spoken with in our target market has significant pain points that we can resolve with our service. Our approach to easing these pain points, while similar to the others, is different enough that we will have a signficant competitive advantage.