In light of CVC Capital Partner’s majority stake in the payments platform Skrill, a UK-based e-commerce company by the name of Powa has raised a staggering USD76m from a single investor. The funds will go towards the development of its m-commerce venture mPowa. The investment is further evidence of a change of pace in the payments space and the disruptive potential of mobile.
Powa operates a SaaS e-commerce platform serving 280 retailers whilst offering marketing consultancy and strategies to optimise internet search engine interaction. It is run by Dan Wagner who is previously the founder of Dialog. With a bigger mobile commerce strategy Powa has now moved into the mobile point-of-sale arena. mPowa is now offering low-cost chip and PIN card readers, front-end apps and an mPOS platform that is fully compliant in order to access payment gateways.
Although there are a huge array of players currently in the space, payments and m-commerce are volume businesses and success will ultimately be driven by scale. As a result, recruiting banking and distribution partners will be paramount on the list of mPowa’s goals. Convincing large retailers to commit to a particular system is a big task, as is securing a large volume of small retailers.
Having already signed deals with Portugal Telecom and the First National Bank of South Africa, mPowa certainly has significant retail experience to gain from Powa’s track record. Whether it builds from this strong position in such a competitive sector remains to be seen.
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