PayKey funding round helps it focus on bank partners

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Social payments startup PayKey says it has raised more than half of its second-round funding target of $10 million, fueling the Tel Aviv-based company's ambitions to expand its market reach.

Earlier this year, PayKey established itself as a social messaging payment provider, but one seeking bank partners as a way to provide a service to banks that might not otherwise consider a money transfer mechanism for its younger customers.

U.S. and Chinese venture capital fund MizMaa is heading the funding round, which has netted $6 million and closes later in the third quarter. MizMaa has traditionally supported Israeli-based technology startups.

PayKey establishes a mobile payment service for bank customers to instantly transfer money through popular social media networks and messaging apps, including Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp and Twitter.

"In the first half of this year, we've had unprecedented global interest from financial institutions and investors in our solution," Daniel Peled, CEO of PayKey, said in a June 22 press release.

The PayKey payment button is now available through Westpac in Australia, Garanti Bank in Turkey, Davivienda in Colombia and Sparebank 1 in Norway.

The company says it is planning rollouts in Singapore and other territories later this year.

Garanti Bank is using the PayKey button as part of a person-to-person payment service for its millennial customers. "Despite non-traditional competitors gaining traction in the market, the current disruption of non-bank P-to-P providers to banks has been widely overstated," Bora Uluduz, senior vice president of digital banking at Garanti Bank, said in the release. "We view the mobile P-to-P transfer market as an exciting opportunity to meet the emerging expectations of our younger customers."

Garanti says it has taken the PayKey-developed Garanti Mobile Keyboard and integrated it into its Garanti Mobile app to establish the P-to-P service across all social networks.

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