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M-payments start-up Boku raises $13 million; acquires Paymo and Mobillcash

16 June 2009  |  6303 views  |  0 Fingers on smartphone keypad

San Francisco-based online mobile payments start-up Boku has raised $13 million in venture funding and acquired micropayments outfit Paymo and m-payments firm Mobillcash.

The Boku payments service enables global consumers to make online purchases of digital and virtual goods with their mobile phones.

The company has been operating in stealth mode for about a year, but has now launched with $13 million in venture funding led by Benchmark Capital, with participation from Index Ventures and Khosla Ventures.

Mark Britto, CEO for Boku, says: "The strength of these two acquisitions and our recent financing will help us strategically to enable global consumer adoption and accelerate global carrier coverage."

The company currently claims carrier coverage in 53 countries and a potential 1.6 billion global consumer base.

Boku will be targetting the mass-market for virtual goods and gaming, which is currently estimated to be worth some $8 billion.

Through Paymo, the company has kicked off with an alliance with social network hi5 and will be looking to place its payments gateway on the Websites of other online gaming companies and virtual communities.

Consumers need only enter their mobile phone number to pay for goods and services online, with payments charged to the monthly phone bill. No registration and bank accounts are required, thereby offering a medium for the unbanked to participate in online pay-to-play commerce.

Boku is not alone in tapping this emerging market. US rival Zong launched in early 2008 and currently has tie-ups with popular Web destinations such as RockYou, MyYearbook and Meez.

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