Last week, we wrote about how Amazon had quietly acquired mobile payments startup GoPago. Today, some more details about the deal: A source close to the situation confirms that Amazon bought the technology and the engineering/product team of GoPago, but none of the existing point of sale business and current merchant relationships. This part of GoPago is going to DoubleBeam — a sale confirmed by DoubleBeam late Friday.
DoubleBeam — founded and run by a team of seasoned payments executives from companies like PayPal, Green Dot, and Digital Insight (bought by Intuit for $1.3B) — provides white-label mobile payments technology for mobile apps and point-of-sale systems, including services like e-checks.
Amazon really wanted the GoPago technology, a source says, but not the existing business. That eventually led to this “non-traditional” arrangement that seems to include some aspects of GoPago’s point-of-sale technology, which will be integrated with DoubleBeam’s existing products.
“We are very excited about the synergies between Doublebeam’s leading mobile commerce solutions and the mobile point-of-sale systems that GoPago brings to the table” says Ted Tekippe, CEO of DoubleBeam, in a statement. “The complimentary capabilities of these technologies will bring a unique and holistic solution to the retail industry. It’s exactly what our customers have been asking us for.”
However, “The bulk of the story stays the same: Amazon is getting into the mobile payment space and has major plans for it,” says the source.
It seems that originally there was going to be an official announcement in January about some aspects of this deal — such as the fate of what would happen to the part of the business that wasn’t going to Amazon. But with the news leaking out this week, it looks they moved up the DoubleBeam announcement so that merchants and employees had more security about what would be coming next. (It may have also been to fend off more reputation-damaging stories like like this one and this one from coming out.)
It’s still not clear when and how Amazon will use GoPago’s technology, but as we mentioned when we first reported on the sale, there are already a lot of moving pieces that point to Amazon’s ambitions to offer a way to make payments for goods more seamless and mobile-friendly:
— Over a year ago, we reported that Amazon was working on a Square competitor, and Gopago, with its business firmly rooted in facilitating local commerce by way of mobile devices, could be part of that plan.
— Amazon has other e-commerce giants in sight. It recently launched “Log In and Pay with Amazon“, a digital wallet service that places it in competition with the likes of PayPal and credit card companies, with a one-click checkout option for online sellers that would let a customer pay instantly through his or her Amazon account. Mobile payments would help Amazon reach even more product parity with PayPal and eBay.
— Many believe Amazon will soon launch its own mobile phones — alleged models revealed to us here. If there is a Square competitor in the works, you can envision how Gopago technology might get integrated into those handsets and a Kindle Fire tablet souped up specifically for merchants to provide Amazon with a built-in payment loop between consumers and merchants — putting Amazon also in competition with Apple and its merchant-friendly iPad/iBeacon pitch.