Nokia seeks gold in mobile payments startup Obopay

Mar 25, 2009 By PETER SVENSSON , AP Technology Writer

(AP) -- Nokia Corp., the world's largest maker of cell phones, is making a large investment in a California-based startup that wants to make the mobile phone the credit card of the developing world.

The amount of Nokia's investment in Inc. of Redwood City was not disclosed Wednesday, but the startup made a regulatory filing this month for the sale of up to $70 million in preferred stock. The filing also noted that Nokia's head of corporate business development, Teppo Paavolo, will get a seat on Obopay's board.

The investment is coming from the Finnish cell phone maker's corporate funds, not its venture arms, because Nokia wants a close collaboration with Obopay, said Olivier Cognet, a business-development executive at Nokia.

Obopay's service, available in the U.S. and India, lets people pay each other through text messages or other cell . The funds can come out of or credit cards. People who lack bank accounts can prepay funds into a Obopay account.

"There's such a big gap in the world - there are 4 billion phones and only 1 billion bank accounts," said Carol Realini, Obopay's chief executive. She founded the company after traveling in Africa, where she noticed how ubiquitous cell phones had become, while financial systems are still rudimentary in many places.

There are several competing systems, including eBay Inc.'s Mobile in the U.S. Nokia has been building transponders into some phones that allow them to be swiped over payment terminals, much like Corp.'s Speedpass key chain fob. But Cognet said this marked the first time Nokia was investing in a service like Obopay's.

The investment will help Obopay speed its global expansion and invest more in its technology, Realini said. Obopay had previously raised $69 million. Most of that has been from venture capital firms, though Inc., the developer of wireless technology, led a $7 million round in 2006.

---

On the Net:

http://www.obopay.com

http://www.nokia.com

©2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Explore further: Square's point-of-sale service goes global

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Nokia Lifeblog Software

Dec 23, 2004

Nokia today announced that Nokia Lifeblog 1.5 is now available at http://www.nokia.com/lifeblog . Nokia Lifeblog is a mobile phone and PC application that keeps an organized multimedia diary of the items collected with your ...

Recommended for you

Square's point-of-sale service goes global

3 hours ago

Financial services startup Square is taking aim at cash registers across the globe, making its point-of-sale software available internationally in English, Spanish, French and Japanese.

Apple, Xiaomi trade smartphone barbs in China

13 hours ago

Top executives from US technology giant Apple and Chinese smartphone upstart Xiaomi traded light-hearted barbs on Thursday at a Chinese Internet conference, acknowledging the fierce competition between the ...

Uber investigating if exec broke 'God' app rules

23 hours ago

Uber Technologies confirmed Wednesday that it is investigating whether one of its general managers violated the popular car-booking service's privacy policies by snooping on a reporter's ride.

Showdown looms between US gov't, air bag maker

Nov 19, 2014

A showdown is looming between U.S. safety regulators and a Japanese company that makes air bags linked to multiple deaths and injuries. Car companies and the driving public are caught in the middle.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.