Mobile payment provider Zong of Palo Alto, Calif. has spun off from its Swiss parent Echovox and has raised $15 million to help pay for its rapid growth, which includes expanding into as many as two countries per month. The second round of capital was led by Matrix Partners.
The company continues to aggressively pursue carrier partnerships so that it has access to even more subscribers, who in turn, can use their mobile phone bills to make virtual good purchases online in social networks or in gaming environments.
Zong is perhaps best known for being the mobile payment provider for Facebook Credits, the virtual currency platform being deployed on the social network. Zong will have to move quickly as it faces steep competition for other well-funded venture that see mobile payments that investors — such as Matrix — are describing as the next PayPal-like opportunity.
Other companies in the space include PayPal, San Francisco-based Boku, which recently raised $25 million, and Paris-based Hi-media, a publicly held company that is bringing its payments platform to the U.S. Zong’s CEO David Marcus said in an interview that Zong currently has 60 employees and will ramp up quickly to 100.
The funding and spinoff mean Zong is now an independent company despite being started by Echovox back in 2008. As part of the investment, Dana Stalder, Matrix’s general partner, will join Zong