Report: European Square, Payleven, nabs new funding

Krystal Peak · June 22, 2012 · Short URL:

Just days after iZettle lands $31M for European expansion, another young mobile payment biz pops up

The US isn't the only place clamoring to build out mobile payment services like Square, Europe has got its share of companies expanding at a rapid rate.

One such company, Payleven, has just added "tens of millions" of euros to its funding from New Enterprise Associates, Holtzbrinck Ventures and the Russian VC ru-net, according to a report in Deutsche Startups

Payleven was a member of Rocket Internet, the incubator/investment group. Days ago, word was going around that a mobile payment startup from Rocket Internet was days away, but many thought the name of the business was ZenPay or EvoPay. Now we know it is Payleven.

While Rocket Internet is infamously tight-lipped about any funding it provides, several reports site that people close to the matter are excited about the growth of Payleve which is already in service in  Germany and Brazil.  

Just last week, Stockholm-based iZettle, announced that it pulled in a staggering $31.4 million round from Greylock, MasterCard and others, so this seems to put the two growing companies in the same waters. 

Payleven has paid special attention to merchants and others that previously did not have the infrastructure, funds or interest in getting POS systems or credit card machines so that it could bring a whole new market of transactions into the mix. 

Payleven currently has deals with American Express and Eurocard (Germany) and AmEx, Diners’ Club, MasterCard and Visa (Brazil). 

Since Square has not made the international move yet, it does give Payleven the opportunity to grow a substantial base before any US mobile payment companies grow overseas, but once Square gets into Europe, Payleven and iZettle will have to compete with the more than $6 billion in processed payments and $4 billion valuation that the young San Francisco startup has already built.

Last month, research came out from Gartner saing that this year will see more than $171.5 billion in mobile payment transactions. That's a whopping 60% increase on 2011′s $105.9 billion.  This means that 212.2 million people (up 32% from 160.5 million in 2011) are using some form of mobile payment service. 

And while the technology is out there to offer near-field-communication between smartphones and POS systems, it is Web transactions and SMS services that are making up the bulk of these digital transactions. 

I can't imagine what the numbers will look like in the mobile payment world when devices like the iPhone and more Android smartphones start adopting the NFC-chips needed to turn your phone into a wallet.

Gartner sees digital mobile transactions reaching $617 billion by 2016 — but these factors in a slight slowing-down in growth to 42%.

SMS, Gartner research director Sandy Shen notes, is still the primary method used in making payments in developing markets, while in more developed markets, most transactions are made via mobile Internet portals. 

Shen also predicts that NFC will be used, but not for payments primarily: “Ticketing, rather than retail payment, will drive NFC transactions,” she says.

Gartner also predicts that merchandise purchases will drive transactions in North America and Western Europe in the years to come. These will include e-commerce purchases where users buy online, as well as in-store purchases. Major e-retailers such as Amazon and eBay have developed strong mobile storefronts and have seen significant growth from the mobile channel. 

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