Payments startup Clinkle has attracted a long roster of Silicon Valley investors for its new payments technology, which is expected to debut within the next year.
The company raised $25 million to fund its product, which is designed to enable mobile payments with a reduced reliance on hardware or cardsthe transactions will be executed mostly by a mobile app used by merchants and consumers.
The company will allow person to person payments by allowing PCs, mobile devices and advanced cash registers to communicate through high-frequency sound emitted by smartphone speakers, according to ReadWriteWeb. The product will also have a social component and will allow group payments, TechCrunch reports.
Sound waves are an uncommon but growing alternative to the use of Near Field Communication chips and QR codes for mobile payments. Not all smartphones have NFC chips, but all smartphones have microphones.
Other companies, such as Alipay and shopkick, use audio waves as part of their mobile shopping apps. Shopkick's app can pick up on an audio signal emitted from a small device placed at a store's entrance or broadcast through the store's music system. Shopkick offers incentives to consumers for visiting stores, and leverages partnerships with MasterCard and Visa to reward users for purchases.
Clinkle's technology would be an alternative to the mobile attachments that allow credit card swipe payments. Its rivals would include PayPal and Square, which both allow consumers to use mobile phones to authenticate themselves at the point of sale through software instead of a card swipe.
"It's amazing how technology has changed so many things in the past 20 years. We no longer look things up in an encyclopedia. When was the last time you sent a letter as opposed to a Facebook message or an email? There are close to one million apps in the Apple App Store. Yet, none let you comfortably go a week or even a couple of days without paper bills or plastic cards," Lucas Duplan, Clinkle's founder, said on the company's blog. Duplan was not available for an interview by deadline.
Clinkle's investors include Accel Partners, Andreessen Horowitz, Intel Capital, and Intuit Inc., along with: Andrew Viterbi, co-founder of Qualcomm; Bob Joss, former dean of Stanford Business School and former vice chairman of Wells Fargo; Diane Greene and Mendel Rosenblum, co-founders of VMWare, and, respectively, board member of Google and professor of computer science at Stanford; Dick Fredericks, former United States Ambassador to Switzerland; Gordon Eubanks, former CEO of Symantec; Jim Breyer, partner at Accel Partners; Marc Benioff, founder and CEO of Salesforce; Mehran Sahami, associate chair of computer science at Stanford; Owen Van Natta, former COO of Facebook; Peter Crisp, founding partner of Venrock Associates; Peter Thiel, co-founder and former CEO of PayPal; Regis McKenna; and Ross Perot Jr., among others.
"Lucas has a bold vision and an amazing team of talented people executing on it," said Diane Greene in a release. "Clinkle's approach is fundamentally different from what's out there, and I look forward to watching them revolutionize commerce."
Thiel, one of PayPal's founders, is also one of Stripe's backers.
Max Levchin, another PayPal founder, recently founded the payments startup Affirm