Boku Lands $13.75 Million in Venture Funding

Boku_homepage_September2016

In a venture round featuring investments from new and existing investors, direct carrier billing and mobile payments leader Boku has raised $13.75 million in additional funding. The financing brings Boku’s total capital to $91 million, and will help fuel the company’s global growth. Participating in the venture round were existing investors Khosla Ventures, Benchmark Capital, NEA, Index Ventures, and DAG Ventures. Additional new and existing investors from the U.K., the U.S., and Asia were also involved.

“Carrier billing is evolving from being a niche product for phone-centric content into a mainstream payment method used by the world’s major brands for all types of digital products,” Boku CEO Jon Prideaux explained. With most customers of carrier billing traditionally coming from developing countries where access to credit and payment cards can be a challenge, Prideaux noted that the company has experienced “explosive growth” in more developed markets, thanks largely to partnerships it has forged with merchants and carriers.

“The world’s biggest tech companies see tremendous potential in the power of the phone as a source of funds,” Prideaux added. He said the combination of improved technology and increased awareness are two trends driving greater adoption of carrier billing as a viable payment option in both emerging and developed markets.

Founded in 2008 and headquartered in San Francisco, California, Boku demonstrated its mobile payment service at FinovateEurope 2011. The company announced a partnership with Google that will make carrier-billing a payment option on Google Play in Lithuania, as well as an agreement that brings direct carrier billing to Windows 10 phones in both the U.K. and Italy. Boku announced that it would power carrier billing for Spotify in Germany and Italy and do the same for Google Play with four new partners in Germany, the Netherlands, and Belgium.

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Boku to Power Carrier Billing for Spotify in Germany and Italy

BOKUHomepage2016

San Francisco-based Boku has formed a partnership with Spotify to facilitate carrier billing in Germany and Italy for the music-streaming company. The agreement includes every major carrier in Germany and one of the leading Italian MNOs.

The two companies have already teamed up in the United Kingdom, and this is the first extension of that partnership. The recent geographical expansion now offers 90 million mobile subscribers across Europe the ability to pay for Spotify Premium subscriptions using only their mobile phone number.

In a press release announcing the expansion, Boku CEO Jon Prideaux spoke of the success Boku has had thus far in Europe:

In the U.K., the default payment method for new Spotify users has changed from credit card to carrier billing … . These new carrier agreements across Europe not only speak to the global appeal of Spotify’s streaming music service, but also the growing appeal of carrier billing for Europeans as a payment method that can now be implemented as a stored payment method in the exact same manner as a credit card.

BOKUwebPOS

Boku’s Checkout offers customers the option of paying via carrier billing at the online point-of-sale (see example above). The company works with 300+ mobile operators in 60+ countries and demoed its mobile payment service at FinovateEurope 2011 in London.

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A Boku Win for Carrier Billing in Expanded Microsoft Partnership

BokuHomepage

Direct mobile billing startup Boku took home a big win last week. The San Francisco-based company expanded its partnership with Microsoft to enable direct carrier billing in the Windows store.

Sprint’s U.S. customers can now make purchases from the Windows store using their mobile phone number. Previously limited to mobile transactions, customers can now purchase applicable content on all Windows devices. Boku’s previous integration with the Windows store resulted in an 8x increase in purchase rates in emerging markets and a 3x increase in developed markets.

In a press release, Boku CEO Jon Prideaux highlighted the solution’s convenience, security, and ubiquity. He says with this new move that “[Microsoft is] creating a tremendous opportunity for developers and consumers alike.”

If you’re not familiar with direct mobile carrier billing, this graphic explains how it works:

boku_direct_how_it_works_r2 

In addition to the Windows Store, Boku can be used to make purchases at:

  • Google Play
  • PlayStation Store
  • Facebook App Center
  • League of Legends
  • Spotify

Boku works with 300+ mobile operators in 60+ countries. The company demoed its mobile payment service at FinovateEurope 2011 in London.

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