Powa Technologies, a British mobile payments and e-commerce company, recently raised $80 Mn from Wellington Management, a public markets investor in a Series C funding round. Wellington had also invested $76 million in Powa last year in the Series A round.
Powa will be using the fresh funds to promote its U.S. launch during the holiday season and attract merchants to adopt its platform for selling. Powa wishes to compete against other established players like Square, Shopify, Big Commerce and others. Powa is moving into the U.S. market at a time when Wal-Mart, Target and other merchants under the MCX consortium are building their own payments platform. Moreover Google Wallet, Apple Pay, PayPal and numerous startups are trying hard to gain a higher position in the growing mobile payments space.
As per a recent report by Javelin Strategy and Research, the increase in penetration of Apple’s iBeacon and other proximity payment technologies would lead to an increase in consumers spending, on physical goods via smartphones, from $3 Bn in 2013 to $53 Bn in 2019.
Powa follows the ‘merchant-first’ strategy and the company’s traction with merchants and new products might have been a key reason behind attracting Wellington. Powa has already signed 970 merchants including Adidas, Nicole Miller, Unilever, Carrefour and Cort Ingles to its platform in the past one year and is signing more merchants at a pace of around 150 every month.
Merchants leverage Powa’s platform for their marketing and advertising programs enabling customers to make more spontaneous purchases. Partner merchants prompt their customers to download the Powa app and input payment information. Registered users can then make purchases via the “Powa Tag” platform using triggers like online and offline pictures of ads, audio watermarks embedded in TV and radio, and other such triggers.
Powa enables its merchants to attract customers by offering customized promotions and promoting purchases directly from ads in magazines and other media. Not only this, Powa also collects and analyses purchase data on behalf of the merchants. Powa charges 40 cents from the merchant for every transaction enabled via its platform.
The wider tech-world can take note from the level of seed funding Powa technologies had acquired earlier this year. People can expect to see PowaTags appearing across magazines, newspapers and in displays of products. Powa plans to spread the new beacon technology across numerous retail locations. The plan is to enhance customer engagement by pushing special alerts to customers in close proximity of products. PowaTag is hoping that its all-in-one strategy and the aid of investors like Wellington, will help in not only attracting merchants but also create the perception of a meaningful utility to the end consumer.