NFC with a twist @ Tapit - Focusing on non-payment areas

According to the Strategy Analytics, the NFC capable smart phones are expected to be nearly 400 Mn by the end of 2014 which is around 5% of the world's total population. There is large market opportunity to create contactless payment applications, integrate NFC into connected home and car products, mobile wallet services and develop other innovative services that will trigger consumer demand for NFC. Tapit, a Sydney based startup seeks to leverage NFC for advertising and marketing campaigns.

Tapit was founded in March 2011 by Jamie Coyningham (Co-founder and CEO) and Andrew Davis (Co-founder and COO). The company recieved seed capital of 0.5 Mn from Sydney Angels Sidecar Fund in August, 2011. Tapit also got 2.3 Mn through investors - Monash Private Capital, OurCrowd, David Shein, David Thrum and New Wave Ventures for the second round of funding to take its operations to Europe and US.

While NFC is yet to become a must have technology for mobile payments, Tapit still believes in its potential, as the best way to reach target consumers. Tapit works with PR agencies, brands, handset manufacturers and telecom carriers to offer them marketing services involving e-commerce, coupon distribution, reviews, ticketing, surveys, content delivery, competition, social community building and more. Basically, almost anything that could leverage NFC.

The data transfer and interactions take place by tapping the Tapit logo with an NFC-enabled device. These Tapit-branded NFC chips can be placed anywhere – on posters, product packages, stuck to windows, shelves, signage, etc. After tapping, the content is delivered to the consumer’s device, and clients are sent reports detailing the engagement metrics associated with their campaign.

One of the players operating in this field includes Thinaire. Their mobile marketing platform is a cloud based enterprise which can be utilized to build mobile consumer and engagement programs, collect and analyze data accessible through those programs, integrate with existing content management, loyalty, CRM and eCommerce platforms. In July 2013, coupon publisher News America Marketing (NAM) made NFC at-shelf promotions available to the majority of its 52,000 member retail network in the US, in partnership with Thinaire.

LTP View: With NFC technology being increasingly adopted by some large enterprises such as Disney, there is a vast potential for startups such as Tapit to find a customers base for their product and services. There are some other enabling technologies that compete with NFC such as QR codes, Sound wave, and now Apple iBeacons BLE. Recently Google Wallet came up with an iOS app without the focus on NFC in it. Analysts had also revised projections for NFC (brought down) as iPhones are coming without NFC chip. As Tapit's approach is to use NFC for content and not payment transactions it faces less issue with the terminal costs and other issues. It may help them attain a larger customer base quickly focusing on promotions. Tapit may need to continue focusing on their primary addressable market sectors as they have the First Mover Advantage.