Media & Entertainment

Mobile Payments Startup iZettle Expands Series B Of $31.4 Million, Adds American Express As Newest Investor As It Preps Launch In UK

Comment

Today iZettle, one of the several Square-like mobile payments companies in Europe, announced that it was expanding its Series B round of €25 million and adding American Express as its newest investor. iZettle and AmEx are not disclosing the value of the new investment. It is joining Greylock, Northzone, MasterCard, SEB Private Equity in the round, which was originally €25 million ($31.4 million). Series A investors in iZettle included Index Ventures and Creandum. The expansion of the Series B is a sign of how competition in the mobile payments world continues to heat up and those looking to make headway are ramping up their financial positions to meet the demand.

iZettle says it will use the funding for product development and expansion into new markets. Among those, the company is expected to make a full commercial launch in the UK in November. Up to now, it has been operating a closed beta with 4,000 small businesses in the country. With the launch, iZettle is also going to announce a partnership with a major UK retailer.

This is a big move for AmEx, in that it is putting its money behind iZettle rather than many of the other European contenders to own the space of mobile payments based around a dongle attached to a mobile device. Others include Payleven from the Sawmer brothers’ Rocket Internet, SumUp, and MPowa.

It is not yet clear whether this is a straight financial investment or also a strategic one: AmEx has developed its own digital payment services in the form of Serve and has partnered with Isis in the U.S. to integrate that into its mobile wallet.

It also moves AmEx further into what it might do in mobile payments in Europe longer term. “The payments landscape is changing rapidly and we believe iZettle’s solution will play an important role in helping to further enable commerce – especially in small merchant segments that have historically relied on cash – by delivering a smart and convenient way for small businesses to accept consumer payments,” said Werner Decker, Senior Vice President, Merchant Services Europe at American Express, in a statement.

iZettle has slowly been rolling out across Europe, with services in its home market of Sweden, Finland, Denmark and Norway, as well as the UK beta. When iZettle originally announced its Series B round, CEO Jacob deGeer told TechCrunch that part of the intention was to use it to expand to new markets. “Our priority is to get the UK fully launched, and then look at other major markets like Spain, Italy, France and Germany to continue building up our transaction volume,” he told TechCrunch at the time. “We’re not interested in the U.S. They’re doing really well with Square and others.”

As with companies like Square and Here from PayPal, the idea with iZettle is to offer a way for smaller merchants that had never accepted cards for payments, to use their iOS or Android smartphones or tablets, equipped with an attachment, to do so. Using iZettle, each transaction on MasterCard, Visa, Diners Club and AmEx is charged a flat 2.75% commission.

Square, meanwhile, has been doing some impressive fundraising of its own. It picked up a $200 million Series D round in September. At the time it said that it would be putting some of that towards an international expansion that would begin before the end of this year. While the company has not specified where or when that will be, many believe that the first steps will be in Asia rather than Europe, leaving companies like iZettle and the rest to continue to duke it out here.

But while iZettle has the endorsement now of two major credit card companies — MasterCard and AmEx — it has also fallen afoul of the third biggie, Visa. The comapany’s European operation, Visa Europe, in July cut off access to its payment network for iZettle in almost all of its markets (Sweden excepted).

The claim was that iZettle’s chip-and-signature system (you put your card into the dongle to read the chip, and then you sign on the smartphone screen to verify your identity) did not meet its standards for payments.

iZettle has said that it continues to work with Visa on finding a solution that will work for both. It’s not clear what that solution will be, but others like Payleven have been developing special keypads that work with their dongles to enter 4-digit security codes for verification.

As all of that has been happening, iZettle also has been making other product headway, expanding to Android (in addition to iOS-based services) and launching an API for developers to integrate iZettle’s payment platform directly into their apps, something that even trailblazing Square has yet to launch.

More TechCrunch

Jolla has taken the official wraps off the first version of its personal server-based AI assistant in the making. The reborn startup is building a privacy-focused AI device — aka…

Jolla debuts privacy-focused AI hardware

OpenAI is removing one of the voices used by ChatGPT after users found that it sounded similar to Scarlett Johansson, the company announced on Monday. The voice, called Sky, is…

OpenAI to remove ChatGPT’s Scarlett Johansson-like voice

Consumer demand for the latest AI technology is heating up. The launch of OpenAI’s latest flagship model, GPT-4o, has now driven the company’s biggest-ever spike in revenue on mobile, despite…

ChatGPT’s mobile app revenue saw biggest spike yet following GPT-4o launch

Dating app maker Bumble has acquired Geneva, an online platform built around forming real-world groups and clubs. The company said that the deal is designed to help it expand its…

Bumble buys community building app Geneva to expand further into friendships

CyberArk — one of the army of larger security companies founded out of Israel — is acquiring Venafi, a specialist in machine identity, for $1.54 billion. 

CyberArk snaps up Venafi for $1.54B to ramp up in machine-to-machine security

Founder-market fit is one of the most crucial factors in a startup’s success, and operators (someone involved in the day-to-day operations of a startup) turned founders have an almost unfair advantage…

OpenseedVC, which backs operators in Africa and Europe starting their companies, reaches first close of $10M fund

A Singapore High Court has effectively approved Pine Labs’ request to shift its operations to India.

Pine Labs gets Singapore court approval to shift base to India

The AI Safety Institute, a U.K. body that aims to assess and address risks in AI platforms, has said it will open a second location in San Francisco. 

UK opens office in San Francisco to tackle AI risk

Companies are always looking for an edge, and searching for ways to encourage their employees to innovate. One way to do that is by running an internal hackathon around a…

Why companies are turning to internal hackathons

Featured Article

I’m rooting for Melinda French Gates to fix tech’s broken ‘brilliant jerk’ culture

Women in tech still face a shocking level of mistreatment at work. Melinda French Gates is one of the few working to change that.

24 hours ago
I’m rooting for Melinda French Gates to fix tech’s  broken ‘brilliant jerk’ culture

Blue Origin has successfully completed its NS-25 mission, resuming crewed flights for the first time in nearly two years. The mission brought six tourist crew members to the edge of…

Blue Origin successfully launches its first crewed mission since 2022

Creative Artists Agency (CAA), one of the top entertainment and sports talent agencies, is hoping to be at the forefront of AI protection services for celebrities in Hollywood. With many…

Hollywood agency CAA aims to help stars manage their own AI likenesses

Expedia says Rathi Murthy and Sreenivas Rachamadugu, respectively its CTO and senior vice president of core services product & engineering, are no longer employed at the travel booking company. In…

Expedia says two execs dismissed after ‘violation of company policy’

Welcome back to TechCrunch’s Week in Review. This week had two major events from OpenAI and Google. OpenAI’s spring update event saw the reveal of its new model, GPT-4o, which…

OpenAI and Google lay out their competing AI visions

When Jeffrey Wang posted to X asking if anyone wanted to go in on an order of fancy-but-affordable office nap pods, he didn’t expect the post to go viral.

With AI startups booming, nap pods and Silicon Valley hustle culture are back

OpenAI’s Superalignment team, responsible for developing ways to govern and steer “superintelligent” AI systems, was promised 20% of the company’s compute resources, according to a person from that team. But…

OpenAI created a team to control ‘superintelligent’ AI — then let it wither, source says

A new crop of early-stage startups — along with some recent VC investments — illustrates a niche emerging in the autonomous vehicle technology sector. Unlike the companies bringing robotaxis to…

VCs and the military are fueling self-driving startups that don’t need roads

When the founders of Sagetap, Sahil Khanna and Kevin Hughes, started working at early-stage enterprise software startups, they were surprised to find that the companies they worked at were trying…

Deal Dive: Sagetap looks to bring enterprise software sales into the 21st century

Keeping up with an industry as fast-moving as AI is a tall order. So until an AI can do it for you, here’s a handy roundup of recent stories in the world…

This Week in AI: OpenAI moves away from safety

After Apple loosened its App Store guidelines to permit game emulators, the retro game emulator Delta — an app 10 years in the making — hit the top of the…

Adobe comes after indie game emulator Delta for copying its logo

Meta is once again taking on its competitors by developing a feature that borrows concepts from others — in this case, BeReal and Snapchat. The company is developing a feature…

Meta’s latest experiment borrows from BeReal’s and Snapchat’s core ideas

Welcome to Startups Weekly! We’ve been drowning in AI news this week, with Google’s I/O setting the pace. And Elon Musk rages against the machine.

Startups Weekly: It’s the dawning of the age of AI — plus,  Musk is raging against the machine

IndieBio’s Bay Area incubator is about to debut its 15th cohort of biotech startups. We took special note of a few, which were making some major, bordering on ludicrous, claims…

IndieBio’s SF incubator lineup is making some wild biotech promises

YouTube TV has announced that its multiview feature for watching four streams at once is now available on Android phones and tablets. The Android launch comes two months after YouTube…

YouTube TV’s ‘multiview’ feature is now available on Android phones and tablets

Featured Article

Two Santa Cruz students uncover security bug that could let millions do their laundry for free

CSC ServiceWorks provides laundry machines to thousands of residential homes and universities, but the company ignored requests to fix a security bug.

3 days ago
Two Santa Cruz students uncover security bug that could let millions do their laundry for free

TechCrunch Disrupt 2024 is just around the corner, and the buzz is palpable. But what if we told you there’s a chance for you to not just attend, but also…

Harness the TechCrunch Effect: Host a Side Event at Disrupt 2024

Decks are all about telling a compelling story and Goodcarbon does a good job on that front. But there’s important information missing too.

Pitch Deck Teardown: Goodcarbon’s $5.5M seed deck

Slack is making it difficult for its customers if they want the company to stop using its data for model training.

Slack under attack over sneaky AI training policy

A Texas-based company that provides health insurance and benefit plans disclosed a data breach affecting almost 2.5 million people, some of whom had their Social Security number stolen. WebTPA said…

Healthcare company WebTPA discloses breach affecting 2.5 million people

Featured Article

Microsoft dodges UK antitrust scrutiny over its Mistral AI stake

Microsoft won’t be facing antitrust scrutiny in the U.K. over its recent investment into French AI startup Mistral AI.

3 days ago
Microsoft dodges UK antitrust scrutiny over its Mistral AI stake