Some consolidation afoot in the world on online payments coming at you, with a little blast from our social networking past. Rixty, a cash-based payment platform for games, virtual goods and other digital content, today received a majority-stake investment from MOL AccessPortal, the e-payment subsidiary of MOL Global, the company that bought social network Friendster in 2009 and then converted it into an online gaming site, selling Friendster’s social media patents to Facebook in the process.
Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed, but it looks to be a shares deal rather than one aimed at taking over Rixty: the founding team and past investors Javelin Venture Partners, Accelerator Ventures,
First Round Capital, Freestyle Capital, Nueva Ventures and SoftTech VC (who, along with angels, put up $1.25 million in a venture round for Rixty) are all remaining with the company as “significant shareholders.” As part of the deal, MOL’s CEO Ganesh Bangah, and Craig White, president of global operations at MOL, will join Rixty’s board. [First Round and Nueva, the company tells us, aren't staying in.]
Rixty’s speciality is offering people who don’t have credit cards or are otherwise “unbanked” a way of buying credits to redeem online. It has 75,000 payment points in the U.S. and a further 66,000 in Brazil, and a total of 500,000 worldwide. It has partnerships with 70 game publishers who have integrated its payment service.
MOL, meanwhile, also offers users a way to pay for gaming and digital content credits. It is somewhat bigger: 360,000 physical payment channels across Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, Thailand, Indonesia, India, Australia and New Zealand, working with some 200 games publishers to integrate its payment services — through sites like Friendster, for example. MOL handles 60 billion transactions annually and is on track to process $500 million in payments this year.
The deal will give MOL a way of expanding its operations to the U.S. and Brazil. Combined, the two will have more global coverage — particularly relevant for publishers looking to reach as wide an audience as possible with their paid content model. “As a leading e-payment provider in Asia, MOL is the perfect partner to complement Rixty’s payment infrastructure across North and South America,” said Ted Sorom, CEO of Rixty, in a statement. Sorom is understood to be in Malaysia at the moment working out the details of how the two will cooperate and integrate.
More directly to the future of MOL, the acquisition puts the Asian company into the backyard of Silicon Valley (Rixty is based in San Francisco), and gives it access to finding out about the latest technologies to improve its payment platform further.
One area this might cover is mobile. Both companies are already active in mobile, and in October MOL established a JV to start a new mobile payment acquiring company focused on enabling small and medium-sized businesses to accept credit and debit card payments using mobile devices.
Another area where MOL is already active and wants to do more is in virtual payments, a market it says is worth $19.2 billion annually worldwide. And we might even see Friendster make a re-entry into the U.S. market as a new gaming force as part of that.
MOL Global is one of South East Asia’s biggest internet companies and owns 100% of both payment service provider, MOL AccessPortal Sdn Bhd (MOL) and the world’s pioneer social network, Friendster Inc. (Friendster). MOL has been operating and developing payment systems since 2000. MOL handles over 60 million transactions annually with an annual payment volume of over USD300 million. MOL leverages on a network of more than 600,000 physical and online payment channels. MOL is linked to 88 online banks...
Rixty is an alternative payment system that lets domestic and international users spend cash and coins for online games, virtual worlds and all types of digital content. Consumers can pay without a credit card and without exposing confidential information by converting cash to Rixty value at 140,000 stores in the US and Brazil or nearly 500,000 locations worldwide. Online game and website publishers use Rixty to engage with and monetize a larger percentage of users. By providing cash-based consumers...
Friendster launched in 2002 as one of the first social networking sites. The service allowed users to communicate with other members, share online content and media, discover new events, brands, and hobbies. The site, at its peak, reached tens of millions of registered users; however, it has since lost its popularity. Friendster was acquired by MOL Global in December 2009 for $26.4 million. In May 2011, Friendster repositioned itself into a social gaming site, discontinuing support for existing users’ social...