Update (20 Nov): looks like went for a fire sale instead of fading out. M2 Global, an online transaction processing technology company, has acquired all of iKobo’s assets and says it’s working hard to restore iKobo customers’ ability to transfer money.
In an e-mail to its users, the company writes:
We regret to inform you that iKobo is discontinuing services. Effective immediately, no further money transfers to your iKobo account will be allowed. Your card issued by Palm Desert National Bank will continue to be active until November 13, 2008. Your card will no longer work after this date. However, the card funds are safe and guaranteed, even after the card is de-activated.
Please use your card at an ATM or to make purchases between now and November 13 to spend down the balance of funds on your card. Any remaining balance as of November 13, 2008 will be refunded to the sender, the US resident, as stated in the bank cardholder agreement (https://www.ikobo.com, link at bottom of page to “US Program Terms and Conditions”) .
We will assist you in any way possible. If you have any further questions regarding the above notice please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
It has been a pleasure serving you and we appreciate your business. We apologize for the inconvenience this may cause.
iKobo was founded in 2001 and used an open network of VISA merchants and ATMs numbering more than 25 million which was supposedly more convenient and safe to send and receive money than a closed network of independent agents. iKobo enabled consumers to use credit cards, debit cards, or bank accounts online to send a re-loadable Visa Prepaid Card to recipients.
iKobo is a privately held corporation backed by venture capital firms, according to their website, but we’ve been unable to pin down which investors funded the company.
Update: doh. It’s right there on their website: the money came from Total Technology Ventures, Council Ventures and Greenhill SAVP. Its most recent round was a Series C to the amount of $4 million in October 2006, and commenter Seth says the total amount of funding was $13 million.
(Hat tip to Branden)