Mobile payments are an incredibly promising phenomenon — set to reach $633 billion by 2014 — so much so that many of the top venture capital firms are lining up against each other for a fight. Now, the teams are basically complete, with newcomer VC firm Andreessen Horowitz taking its spot next to San Francisco-based Boku.
Boku is almost the definition of a “fat startup,” said co-founder and SVP product and marketing Ron Hirson in an interview this week. The company was founded at the beginning of last year, quickly raised funding to buy two of the biggest competitors in the space of mobile payments for virtual goods — Paymo and Mobillcash — and now is facing off against the third, Zong.
Boku had already raised $38 million, and Andreessen Horowitz belatedly jumped into the previous round, which closed in December 2009. So now the company’s investment team is Benchmark Capital, Index Ventures, Khosla Ventures, DAG Ventures and Andreessen Horowitz. Meanwhile, Zong’s backers are Matrix Partners, Advent Venture Partners and Newbury Ventures. Other firms have looked farther afield to places like Europe and India where mobile payments markets are further along, with enStage backed by Accel; PayMate backed by Mayfield Fund, Kleiner Perkins and Sherpalo Ventures; and Klarna backed by Sequoia Capital (the PayPal investor, back in the day).
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