Monitise prepares for growth with new investment and partnerships

Monitise prepares for growth with new investment and partnerships

Mobile money outfit Monitise has raised £15.8 million in funding and struck two new partnerships it hopes will help build its presence in the retail sector and Asia Pacific. The company also says it is on track to meet full year revenue expectations after record consumer uptake.

The UK-based firm has inked a heads of terms for a joint venture with First Eastern, a subsidiary of Hong Kong's First Eastern Investment Group. The partners will work to deploy mobile banking and payments services in Hong Kong, China and other territories in Asia Pacific, with the first offerings expected to be available through banks and financial institutions to consumers next year.

Victor Chu, chairman, First Eastern, says: "This will be a fantastic growth opportunity for both First Eastern and Monitise in view of the vast market potential here for value added services and products introduced by a proven mobile banking and payments platform. With First Eastern's extensive network and investment expertise, I am confident that we will contribute significantly as Monitise rolls out its ambitious expansion plans across the Asian region."

A separate heads of terms agreement has been signed with UK handset retailer The Carphone Warehouse. The two plan to establish a network to extend mobile banking and payments into the world of retail. The Mobile Money Network will be open initially to participants in the UK, before being rolled out into Europe and the USA.

It aims to enable tens of millions of consumers to sign up to mobile banking services, buy goods and services from network members, to send money to their friends and family including those in other countries, to top up their pre-paid and loyalty cards and to top up their mobile phones, all from an app on their handset.

The first services are expected to be available to consumers in early 2010. The Carphone Warehouse retail business in the UK, which has over 800 stores, will become the first retail partner of the joint venture.

Andrew Harrison, CEO, The Carphone Warehouse, says: "We are entering the era of true mobility, where people can shop, buy and pay on the move. The Mobile Money Network is designed to open up this new world to everybody and we hope that many retailers will join so that we can offer people simple, secure, mobile shopping, from a single Mobile Application."

Both First Eastern and The Carphone Warehouse are also subscribing to new ordinary shares in Monitise.

First Eastern is subscribing for £5 million of shares at 13 pence a piece and agreed to take an additional £2.5 million at 13 pence per share upon completion of the JV. The Carphone Warehouse will subscribe for £2.5 million of new ordinary shares at 15 pence per share on completion of the Mobile Money Network JV. Existing major shareholders Visa, UBS and Standard Chartered Bank are also supporting the subscriptions.

Meanwhile, the company expects half year revenue to jump 55% on the same period last year to over £1.7 million. Transaction revenue for the half year of around £0.8 million is a four fold increase on the equivalent period last year. Operating losses will depend on additional deals still being negotiated and include the impact of buying out its Monilink joint venture.

Alastair Lukies, CEO, Monitise, comments: "Monitise has reached a point of significant momentum. These new partnerships, together with the investments and full support of our existing strategic shareholders, validate our market leading status and position us very well to take the business through to profitability. People everywhere will be able do their banking, shopping and make payments from their mobiles as easily as they can talk and text."

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