Zong Emerges: Facebook Deal And $15 Million In Funding

We’ve been tracking mobile payments provider Zong since 2008 – in a nutshell, it lets you pay for things, particularly virtual goods online, via direct billing to your mobile phone. Despite heavy competition from well-backed boku, the service has emerged as a leader in alternative payments. Facebook likes them so much they made them the mobile payment provider for Facebook Credits.

See our post Mobile Payments Getting Traction On Social Networks, But Fees Are Sky High from last year for a deeper dive on their business.

Early this year the company was spun off from its European parent, Echovox, and Echovox founder David Marcus moved to the U.S. to run the fast growing Zong. The company has now closed a new round of financing, its first as an independent company. Matrix Partners led the $15 million round, and partner Dana Stadler joined Zong’s board of directors.

Stadler is a big win for Zong. He’s the former Chief Technology Officer of PayPal and will, says Marcus, be extremely helpful as the company scales the volume of payments. Last year Zong also started expanding beyond mobile payments by allowing users to bill goods to credit, debit and prepaid cards. As that expansion progresses, the company will need resources to do that intelligently. Stadler, who initiated projects at PayPal including PayPal Mobile and the PayPal Developer Platform, will certainly guide them in the right direction.