NFC Mobile Advertising Startup Tapit Raises Seed Funding

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Tapit is a new mobile advertising startup, founded in March 2011, that enables content sharing and offer delivery simply by tapping an NFC-enabled phone anywhere the Tapit logo can be found.

The company has now raised a seed funding round from Sydney Angels in record time – just 22 days from the pitch until the round was subscribed for. This is the fastest investment to date for Sydney Angels, the not-for-profit membership organization for angels which typically invests in Sydney-based startups.

NFC (near field communication), a short-range wireless technology, is often associated with mobile payments and mobile wallets these days, as a new way to enable purchases at point-of-sale. But that’s only one of the many possible use cases for the technology, which can also support things like sharing files and media between devices, advertising, ticketless transactions and more. It can even be used to perform actions like those found in NTT DOCOMO’s nifty “tap to follow” offering that lets two Twitter users follow each other simply by tapping phones.

With Tapit, however, the idea is to leverage NFC for use in marketing campaigns by working with agencies, brands, handset manufacturers and carriers. Its marketing services include mobile commerce, coupon distribution, ticketing, surveys and reviews, content delivery, competitions and social community building (e.g. tap here to “like” us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter).

The company has already been involved with several campaigns this year – one for Australian radio group Nova Radio through the JCDecaux billboard network, another for Australia’s Channel 10 TV show “Renovators,” and a third involving an NFC-based marketing within shopping centers.

Says Tapit CEO Jamie Conyngham, “the speed in which this round was closed is an endorsement of the Tapit team and the business models we have created around our unique NFC enabled technology. Everyone we meet loves the idea of Tapit, it’s addictive.”

NFC, indeed, would be a step up from the now-ubiquitous barcode scanning technology, which involves using smartphone apps to scan QR codes via the phone’s camera. Unfortunately, NFC generally requires an accompanying chip built into the phone itself. Due to this requirement, it’s currently being held back by the limited availability of supported handsets.

Still, analysts are bullish on NFC’s future, with ABI predicting over 35 million supported handsets by 2012 and Frost & Sullivan estimating around 868 million by 2015.

Terms of Tapit’s seed investment were not disclosed, but the Sydney Angels Sidecar Fund typically invests between $100K – $500K in its portfolio companies.