Inside Contactless raises EUR9m in financing round

Source: Inside Contactless

INSIDE Contactless announced today the closing of a euro 9 million ($10.6 million) financing round led by three new top tier investors: Sofinnova, Vertex Venture Capital (Israel) and Visa International.

Prior round investors GIMV, Vertex Singapore and Siparex have also participated. These top names in the venture capital world bring strong financial and strategic value to INSIDE at a critical period in its growth.

"This company has an amazing patent portfolio and know-how in two key markets: payment and Near Field Communication," Sofinnova's managing partner Jean Schmitt. "The market for contactless payment cards is about to explode. Most US banks have already announced their intention to adopt this new technology and are preparing massive deployments starting end 2005. INSIDE has by far the technology that offers the best user experience for card holders," said Jean Schmitt. "Japan is already including NFC chips in consumer devices such as mobile telephones for contactless payment, and this trend is set to spread to other countries. INSIDE's products are timely, best of breed and address very large markets. We believe that this company will become a very important player."

"As a leading payments innovator, Visa International supports companies that are at the cutting edge of emerging technologies, especially those that are strategically significant to Visa member financial institutions and the payments industry in general," said Patrick Gauthier, senior vice president, Innovation, Visa International. "INSIDE Contactless has been a pioneer in the contactless market, with a track record of developing ground-breaking solutions. Visa's leadership in innovation, together with INSIDE's rich expertise, will support the efforts of Visa member banks and merchants to roll out new consumer products."

"Our follow-on investment further confirms the confidence we have in INSIDE Contactless as a leading provider of the most efficient contactless solutions," stated INSIDE's Chairman of the Board, Remy De Tonnac of Vertex Venture Capital. "The North American payments market is leading the way for massive deployment of contactless chip technologies, and I expect INSIDE Contactless to play a pivotal role."

INSIDE intends to use these funds for the expansion of its business in the key growth markets for contactless payments and mobile NFC (near field communication). INSIDE's dedicated microcontroller chip (MicroPass(TM)) is based on a proprietary 16-bit RISC architecture processor which provides more computing power to deliver complex and secure applications with extremely fast transaction time and optimized reading distance, ensuring the best of class card holder experience. R&D investments will be further increased for the creation of a whole family of products for these targeted markets, facilitating the company's ability to position itself as a leader in these areas.

Additionally, INSIDE aims to use the funds to further strengthen the management team by hiring executives who will help expand the business in a global environment.

"This new investment round gives INSIDE financial means to succeed in the Payment and NFC markets," commented Jacek Kowalski, INSIDE's Founder, President and CEO. "A few years ago we took the challenge to develop a dedicated and optimized microprocessor architecture and our product performance demonstrates that we have taken the right decision. This new microprocessor chip and our advance in NFC technology aim to speed up market development and enable the company to take a market leading position. The quality of investors supporting INSIDE and Visa International's funding represents key success factor for INSIDE in this challenging market."

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