London-based Powa Technologies Ltd. received $76 million in investment to expand its mPowa mobile payments technology beyond the U.K.
Powa plans to open offices in five U.S. cities, as well as expand into countries such as South Africa, Germany, France, Italy, Mexico and Brazil. The investment will also be used to create 250 jobs in Britain.
"One in five of our small businesses export. If we could change that from one in five to one in four we would wipe out our trade deficit at one stroke," says David Cameron, U.K. prime minister, in an Aug. 21 press release.
The Series A round of funding comes from a single investor that Powa declined to name.
Although the mobile card reader market is overcrowded, Powa has differentiated itself with a reader that accepts PIN transactions, turning the handset screen into a PIN pad. PIN acceptance is an essential feature in many countries, which have converted to EMV-chip cards, which typically use a PIN for authentication.
Since Powa's launch in the U.K., the company has expanded its service into the U.S., opening offices in New York City with eyes on Houston, Texas as well. This year, Powa entered a white-label partnership with Portugal Telecom to resell its mobile card reader as part of the telco's mobile payment system.