Bango, a mobile payments company based in the UK that provides tech to app stores and carriers so that consumers can charge app store purchases directly to their phone bills, has raised another £11 million ($17 million) in funding, the company said in a market statement today, with a post-money valuation of £60 million ($91 million).
Bango says the funding will be used to improve confidence among existing app store partners by strengthening is balance sheet, as well as to invest in market expansion and R&D.
“I am delighted that Bango has the support of top-tier investors to pursue further growth with our leading app store partners,” CEO Ray Anderson said in a statement. “Bango has worked hard over the years to remove barriers to growth – replacing upfront activation fees with a monthly recurring platform fee, and building a platform to smoothly process at least 15 times current spending levels. The mobile industry is now seeing the benefits of Direct Carrier Billing, and greater demand for this method of payment comes at a time when Bango is the market leader. The funding package announced today will see great returns as we deliver further End User Spend in markets around the world.”
The company works with almost all major app stores — including Amazon, BlackBerry, Google, Samsung, Microsoft, and Mozilla. Noticeably, it does not mention Apple as a customer. Apple this month started to roll out its very first carrier billing integration, with O2 in Germany, but neither Apple nor O2 specified which integration parters it was working with.
While Bango has been around for years before the rise of app stores, providing carrier billing for SMS-based mobile content, ringtones and more, the company says that today it has 140 direct activations between MNOs and app stores, and that this now accounts for 40% of all carrier billing routes through its payment platform. It’s made particular headway in developing markets, where credit card penetration is lower. Users spend about £60 million annually through that platform.