April 13 , 2011

Payfone attracts $19M investment from Amex, Rogers, to close one of the largest funding rounds in the mobile payments market-to-date

NEW YORK--Payfone, a leading provider of mobile payments, today announced the closing of its $19 million strategic funding round, making it one of the largest mobile payments funding rounds to date. American Express is the largest strategic investor in this round of funding, with additional investment from Verizon Investments Inc. (assisted by Verizon Ventures), Rogers Ventures and from existing investors Opus Capital, BlackBerry Partners Fund and RRE Ventures. Payfone's new funds will be used to continue innovations in its market approach and to support its global expansion across North America, EMEA, Latin America and Asia.

"The payments industry is going through a fundamental transformation, with the move to digital payments becoming the primary driver. Payfone is well positioned to lead the next wave of innovation in mobile payments and commerce and we look forward to working with the Payfone leadership team to evolve Serve, our new digital payments platform, to provide the most flexible and secure payment solutions for buyers and sellers," said Dan Schulman, Group President, Enterprise Growth, American Express.

Founded by industry veteran Rodger Desai in 2008, Payfone is the culmination of over 50 years of combined payment processing, telco, and web 2.0 expertise. Payfone is unique in leveraging the existing assets of mobile operators, such as the global SS7 signaling network for directly connected payment authorization and processing. This approach distinguishes Payfone from other competitors.

Payfone was created to challenge conventional thinking and radically change the mobile payment paradigm. Over 5 billion people worldwide currently have mobile phones, while less than 2 billion have credit cards. Payfone's goal is to make the mobile phone number the accepted way to pay, opening up payment options to the non-credit card world and bridging the gap in emerging markets.

"Strategic investment from major operator players like Verizon Investments Inc. and Rogers Ventures, as well as backing from a prestigious financial institution like American Express is not only a testament to our unique approach, but it also demonstrates our industrial strength offering," said Rodger Desai, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Payfone. "Mobile payments will form a major cornerstone in operator and merchant digital payment strategies moving forward. We look forward to enabling operators to participate in the transaction flow and benefit from an entirely new revenue source, while driving home our own mission to make the mobile phone number the accepted way to pay."

Through Payfone's simple and secure checkout and in-app payments service, consumers can purchase digital and physical goods using their mobile phone number. With this unique approach to mobile payments, operators and merchants are able to complete transactions more securely and accurately, reducing fraud and risk and generating more revenue. For consumers it means greater choice and a simple, safe and secure credit card-like purchasing experience via mobile and online.

Unlike other market players, Payfone leverages the security already built into the mobile operator network for mobile payment processing. This deep network access allows for the authorization of credit card, debit and mobile operator billed payments, dramatically reducing fraud, charge-backs and identity theft.

American Express is a global services company, providing customers with access to products, insights and experiences that enrich lives and build business success.

American Express recently launched Serve, a next generation payments platform designed to deliver emerging payments and services to address the changing ways consumers interact and exchange money -- with one another -- as well as merchants.

Verizon Ventures seeks out promising entrepreneurial companies to drive innovation in Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE, NASDAQ: VZ). Verizon Ventures' focuses on new products, technologies, applications and services that complement Verizon networks, service platforms and distribution channels.

Rogers Ventures is the venture capital arm of Rogers Communications. Its mandate is to invest in broadband enabled wire-line and wireless companies with a focus on mobile finance, machine-to-machine, cloud computing, and mobile advertising. For more information visit www.rogersventures.com.

Payfone authorizes and processes mobile payment transactions for the world's best known application stores and merchants. Payfone's unique ability to leverage the mobile operator network to directly authorize and process payments drives higher sales conversion and revenue yield for merchants and mobile operators, while managing fraud and revenue leakage. As a result, consumers benefit with a wide choice in payment methods and the best user experience.


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