Telefónica is taking a stake in its preferred mobile payments partner, Boku, as part of a funding round in which Boku has raised $35 million (€26.6 million). The Spanish-based operator called the investment a "significant development" as it readies its mobile wallet service for launch.
Telefónica Digital did not refused to reveal the amount it had invested in Boku. Other investors included venture capital firms New Enterprise Associates, Andreessen Horowitz, Benchmark Capital, DAG Ventures, Index Ventures and Khosla Ventures. but added:
"Payments are going mobile and we want to be at the forefront of this trend," Telefónica Digital CEO matthew Key said in a statement. "Boku has quickly established itself as a true innovator in the mobile commerce space and this investment and partnership gives us access to their tools, infrastructure and know how, ideally complementing our own mobile payments expertise."
Along with this investment, Telefónica Digital announced a new agreement with Boku that will provide the mobile payments developer with access to Telefónica's operations in 25 markets and 300 million customers. The deal will also provide Telefonica with access to Boku's merchant network, expanding the number of places customers will be able to use their mobile wallet for purchases.
Boku, which started in 2008, has raised $75 million (€57 million) so far and operates in 67 countries through 250 mobile operators, according to Reuters.
Earlier this month Telefónica unveiled its Wayra start-up accelerator in London's West End which will offer entrepreneurs financial backing and professional mentoring services. Orange quickly followed this by announcing an initiative with Publicis to jointly run a £256 million investment fund aimed at assisting start-ups.
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