Bling Nation, a mobile payments provider, announced today it has secured $20 million in Series B funding.
The round was led by new investor Balderton Capital, with additional funds raised primarily from existing investors, including Lightspeed Venture Partners, who led the company's Series A financing round. In connection with the transaction, Bling Nation has also added Roberto Bonanzinga, partner at Balderton Capital, to the company's board of directors.
Founded in 2007, Bling Nation enables consumers to pay merchants with the tap of a mobile phone instead of using a costly credit card or cash. In addition to consumer convenience, merchants reduce interchange fees, and banks increase income.
"Bling Nation's technology will accelerate the adoption of mobile payments in the US," said Roberto Bonanzinga, partner at Balderton Capital. "Bling Nation has the potential to revolutionize the payment industry, a sector that historically has been dominated by established players with little appetite for innovation. The scale of this market and the disruptive nature of Bling Nation's business model combined with the company's experienced management team are what attracted Balderton Capital to Bling Nation, and I am honored to join the company's board."
"Community banks and credit unions historically have struggled to gain a profit from their debit and credit card portfolios," said Wences Casares, co-CEO of Bling Nation. "As a smaller financial institution, they wind up subsidizing larger financial institutions and are lucky to break even. The opportunity exists for community banks and credit unions to recapture lost profits by enabling local mobile payments communities, as 85-95 percent of their debit transactions happen locally."
With Bling Nation, the tap to pay at the merchant point-of-sale is followed by an instant text message with the transaction information, an updated account balance and rewards balance. If the rewards balance meets preset thresholds, a customer can pay for their purchase using those rewards.
Bling Nation is currently active in two communities in Colorado. The first, La Junta, Colo.-based The State Bank, began Blinging June 22. Since then, The State Bank has seen more than 80 percent of the bank's active debit card customers in the target market activate a BlingTag. It took almost a decade for the bank to see similar adoption of standard credit and debit card networks among its customers. The second is Woodland Park, Colo.-based Park State Bank & Trust, which began offering mobile payments to its customers Oct. 15.