Obopay secures $7m funding; adds three new VPs

Source: Obopay

Obopay, the first comprehensive mobile payment service in the U.S., today announced that it closed on a $7 million strategic investment round led by leading wireless technologies innovator QUALCOMM Incorporated (NASDAQ:QCOM).

Other participants in this round include investors Redpoint Ventures, ONSET Ventures and Richmond Management, which all contributed to the series A round of $10 million last February.

"QUALCOMM believes that there is a tremendous opportunity in mobile payments, and we were impressed by what Obopay has to offer in terms of vision, execution and an experienced management team," said Nagraj Kashyap, director of North American operations, QUALCOMM Ventures. "We look forward to working with Obopay and driving mass consumer adoption of their innovative peer-to-peer mobile payments solution on the BREW(R) platform."

Obopay will leverage the investment to expand its marketing and operations to capitalize on the rapidly growing opportunity for mobile payments in the United States. The company also will continue to work closely with mobile operators, merchants and financial institutions to provide consumers with greater options and a seamless experience with the Obopay mobile payments service.

"This strategic investment by QUALCOMM and our original slate of investors strongly validates our early leadership in this rapidly growing market," said Carol L. Realini, CEO and founder of Obopay. "We are beginning to see in the United States the same trends that sparked massive adoption of mobile payments abroad and are making it a practical and usable solution for consumers today."

With the Obopay mobile payment service, consumers can instantly get, send and spend money using their mobile handset. Obopay accounts can be managed completely from the mobile handset, allowing users to check their balances, request payments from other mobile users and view their transaction histories.

Separately, Obopay, the first comprehensive mobile payment service in the U.S., announced today the hiring of three new vice presidents, strengthening the company's customer facing functions.

The company appointed Christian Delay, vice president of business development for mobile; Ramy Mora, vice president of consumer marketing; and Sam Shawki, vice president of customer operations. Together, the three new executives bring a track record of excellence from some of the world's most successful brands and enterprises.

Christian Delay joins Obopay from Yahoo!. At Yahoo!, Delay led such marquee mobile business development initiatives as Yahoo! Go Mobile with Cingular, Yahoo! SMS Search, and the "Pepsi Cool Tones and Motorola Phones" promotion. He will apply his experience working with mobile carriers and Fortune 100 companies to develop and maintain business relationships that will provide additional value for Obopay's partners and customers.

"This is a great time for mobile payments, and no company is as strongly positioned to win the hearts and minds of mobile customers as Obopay," said Delay. "I'm very proud to contribute by forging important alliances that will help make Obopay the next big thing in mobile and forever change the way people use their money."

Ramy Mora brings to Obopay a wealth of consumer marketing experience and domain expertise, having driven consumer marketing at such established industry leaders as Clorox, Microsoft, and Yahoo!. He helped build HotWire into one of the most popular destination sites for online travel and turned Shopping.com into the world's largest online comparison shopping sites before eventually steering it to a successful IPO. He will manage a variety of marketing programs and consumer acquisitions efforts for Obopay, including print, Web marketing, promotions and end-to-end marketing campaigns.

"I came to Obopay, because I believe there is no greater opportunity in consumer services than mobile payments, and Obopay is a clear frontrunner in this exciting space," said Mora. "I am looking forward to working with my new colleagues to build on Obopay's rapidly growing consumer base."

With a strong track record in quality assurance and customer operations, Sam Shawki will work to ensure Obopay customers are always getting the best mobile payments experience the industry has to offer. He continuously developed new ways to enhance the user experience at Siebel and was instrumental in driving the rapid mass adoption experienced at Netscape. He also held senior posts driving customer service, quality engineering and carrier support at Venturi Wireless and Shoretel.

"I have always been very passionate about serving consumers and making sure their experience is always a positive one," said Shawki. "I'm very excited to be playing such a key role in helping Obopay give mobile users greater power and flexibility in the way they use their cash."

"Obopay is attracting to its executive ranks some of the best and well-known talent in the business, and these three new executive hires are vital to helping Obopay enable the mobile phone to do for money what the iPod did for music," said Carol Realini, CEO and founder of Obopay. "Each brings a wealth of experience working with major consumer Internet companies and wireless entities, and the company is fortunate to benefit from their vast experience and knowledge."

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