Verizon leads $9.4M investment in Flint Mobile mobile payments service

Verizon Communications (NYSE: VZ) lead a $9.4 million investment round in Flint Mobile, a mobile payments service that uses software to process transactions instead of hardware, giving the company a boost from a major carrier.

The Series C round was led by Verizon Ventures, the investing arm of Verizon, along with investments from earlier backers Digicel, Storm Ventures and True Ventures as well as participation by new investor Peninsula Ventures. Flint secured a $3 million Series A funding round in 2012 and an $8 million Series B round in 2013.

Founded in 2011, Flint uses a smartphone as a point-of-sale terminal. However, as GigaOM notes, Flint's technology lets merchants use their phone's camera to scan credit card numbers and then input other verification information manually--unlike rivals like Square, which use dedicated hardware to read a credit card's magnetic strip and process the payment. Flint's service then verifies the card and processes the transaction in the cloud.

Source: Flint

Flint also announced a new feature to its service called "Sell Online" that gives merchants access to online transaction capabilities without requiring them to set up a separate e-commerce service. Merchants can add custom "Buy Now" buttons to their website or insert secure e-commerce links in email campaigns or on social media and process payments through Flint. 

"We've evolved from simple payments on the spot to giving people a way to run their businesses from the palms of their hands," Flint CEO Greg Goldfarb told TechCrunch. "Later, we might start to look at booking services and appointments," he added. "It would be great to that through Flint as well."

Goldfarb declined to say why Verizon is investing but indicated that the carrier backs Flint's long-term strategy. "They see our strategy to focus on mobility for business as interesting," he said in an interview with TechCrunch. "I can't talk about their strategic thinking and I can't disclose things that are not yet announced."

Verizon Wireless, along with A&T Mobility (NYSE:T) and T-Mobile US (NYSE:TMUS), also backs Softcard, which uses Near Field Communications technology to let people make purchases with their smartphones.

For more:
- see this release
- see this GigaOM article
- see this TechCrunch article
- see this VentureBeat article

Related Articles:
Apple to restrict NFC chip in iPhone 6 to mobile payments
Apple Pay: Good or bad for Europe's operators?
Analysts: Apple Pay will help spur wider usage of mobile payments
Apple introduces Apple Pay mobile payments service to challenge Google Wallet, Softcard