Mobile Commerce Consolidation As Mozido Takes Majority Stake In CorFire

Just days after Dutch digital commerce provider Adyen announced a $250 million round of funding, another heavily capitalised player in the space has made an acquisition to up its game. Mozido, a mobile commerce specialist that raised $185 million in October 2014 after raising $103 million in May, has taken a majority stake in CorFire, another mobile commerce startup that focuses on point-of-sale payments.

Terms of the deal are not being disclosed.

We do have a small hint that it was potentially in the hundreds of millions of dollars: “We can tell you that the investment reflected the value of CorFire’s customer base and technology expertise and is reflective of the valuation of similar deals in the market,” a spokesperson tells me. Adyen, another company that offers a complete suite of mobile and online-commerce-related services, was valued at $1 billion with its last funding round.

Previously, CorFire had been 100 percent owned by SK C&C, the IT services division of South Korea’s giant SK Group. CorFire is one of SK’s numerous investments into U.S. tech, and one of several headquartered in Atlanta, Ga. (This goes back far; recall SK Group company SK Telecom working with Atlanta’s Earthlink on a JV that became Helio back in 2005.) SK C&C will continue to hold a minority stake in the company.

In the wake of a sudden, more mainstream focus on smartphone-based payment services — exemplified perhaps most by Apple finally making a move into the area with Apple Pay — there are still a lot of ways that the area remains in the dark ages. For one, we are continuing to see a lot of different solution rollouts that are not necessarily compatible with one another.

Mozido — like Adyen — positions itself as something of a payments “Switzerland” in that regard. The company’s biggest advance has been in getting traditional retailers — not those typically associated with being at the cutting edge of high tech — to consider and start to implement different mobile commerce services. It leaves them and the market to decide what form the endpoints eventually take. “We have always been agnostic in regards to payments. Mozido supports any payment or acceptance method our clients want to deploy,” the company says.

As for who is in that valuable CorFire customer base, it has a pretty extensive range of customers, including large carriers like AT&T and Vodafone, using its mobile payments technology, as well as a number of large retail chains. Together, the combined company will have a reach of 2 billion users through six of the top 20 mobile carriers globally. CorFire’s customer base also becomes a natural customer base to upsell to Mozida’s other services. For this reason, too, all of CorFire’s operations will run as before with no closures.

On the technology front, CorFire is particularly strong in the area of NFC-enabled mobile wallets, which will be bolstered now with Mozido’s financial services such as international and domestic remittances, P2P payments, mobile bill pay, and international and domestic airtime top up, delivered as white-label services.

“By adding its strength in NFC-enabled mobile wallets to Mozido’s extensive mobile financial services and retail marketing capabilities, we can now give merchants around the world access to a powerful mobile ecosystem that adds monetization features to mobile programs,” said Michael Liberty, founder and Chairman of Global Strategic Initiatives at Mozido, said in a statement. “CorFire has built a state-of-the-art technology platform for NFC-enabled payments, and this acquisition, in conjunction with our MoTEAFTM platform, makes Mozido the leader in NFC and cloud-based mobile payments.”

While Mozido also has some point of sale business — for example powering Dairy Queen’s mobile commerce services — this will complement its other mobile commerce products, for example loyalty services, coupons and mobile banking services.

Mozido is not disclosing revenue details for either company but does note again that the customer base has large carriers and retailers as a part of it — a sign of recurring revenues that are likely proportionate to the size of the buyers. “It also provides the new combined company, Mozido CorFire Inc., the financial flexibility to innovate and deliver a rich product roadmap for our existing and future clients,” he adds.

Updated with reference to name of the company (it’s still just “Mozido”), and clarification of what Mozido and Corfire each bring to the deal.