The German mobile couponing firm Coupies has pulled in a seven-figure wad of funding, which it hopes to use for international expansion.
The money comes from CologneInvest and constitutes Coupies’s first proper investment round, which is impressive considering it’s a 10-person operation that already has a reach of three million users.
Coupies is one of the first mobile couponing companies to embrace near-field communications (NFC), the short-range wireless tech that’s built into millions of smartcards, bank cards, and increasingly phones. Apple (s AAPL) is yet to go NFC, but Nokia (S NOK), RIM (s RIMM) and a bunch of Android (s GOOG)devices are already there.
Once the user has signed up for Coupies, they can be targeted with deals on a location basis. They get coupons sent to their handset, which they can then redeem at the store.
Coupies supplies retailers with little stickers that they can keep at the point-of-sale, with each sticker including both a printed QR code and a tiny NFC chip. If the user has an NFC-enabled phone, they can just touch it to the sticker to tell the system they’re redeeming the coupon, otherwise they can photograph the QR code to do the same.
While the Coupies app itself only has 80,000 users across all the big smartphone platforms, the service is also integrated into a host of partners’ mobile apps, which is where that three-million reach comes from.
These partners include the VZ Networks social platforms, various daily deals outfits and also several augmented reality platforms, such as Wikitude and Junaio. The telecoms giant Deutsche Telekom is also a sales partner.
All in all, Coupies’ services are available in Germany, Spain, Austria, Switzerland and also in Hong Kong, Singapore and Indonesia, under the name mobileFOXX. According to spokesman Thomas Engel, an Australian launch is imminent and the new-found funding will enable more.
“We want to increase our reach, which means more partners and more own-app downloads,” he told me. “We want to further internationalize our service – at least two more new countries this year.”