American Express Co., has bought a minority stake in Bangalore-based payment device maker Ezetap Mobile Solutions. Ezetap received venture funding of $10 million from a consortium of investors led by Helion Venture Partners. CEO Abhijit Bose, a former executive at mobile commerce platform ngpay, cofounded Ezetap in 2011 along with Bhaktha Keshavachar, a former engineer at Intel.
According to the Economic Times, the company incubated at Bangalore-based AngelPrime and has received funding from some of the world’s best -known investors, including PayPal’s Peter Thiel and enterprise social network company Yammer cofounder David Sacks as well as billionaire Nicolas Berggruen’s private equity fund Berggruen Holdings. Both Bose and investors declined to reveal the amount invested by the credit card issuer.
Ezetap which has deployed 12,000 devices across South East Asia and Africa, will use the funds to increase growth in these markets. It aims to take the total number of devices over 100,000 by next year. American Express believes mobile point of sales solutions will play an important role in helping to further enable commerce. “Especially in small merchant segments that have historically relied on cash,” said Sanjay Rishi, President, American Express, South Asia. “Ezetap is one of the few mobile point of sale companies in the world that owns the entire technology stack from its hardware and application to its open platform, integration framework, and processing,” he said.
The closest parallel to Ezetap’s point-of-sale device is the one offered by US-based Square, co-founded by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey. In India, Ezetap competes with Mswipe Technologies, which is backed by venture capital firm Matrix Partners, Axis Bank and DSG Consumer Partners. In February American Express Ventures, the venture capital arm of the New York-based credit-card issuer made a strategic investment in Indian startup Capillary Technologies, which builds technology that helps retailers understand customer purchase behavior.