Telefonica Digital invests in BOKU to increase payments capabilities

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Telefonica will use BOKU to increase its mobile wallet and carrier billing capabilities, after taking part in a $35 million funding round in the mobile payments company. Other investors include New Enterprise Associates (NEA), and previous investors Andreessen Horowitz, Benchmark Capital, DAG Ventures, Index Ventures and Khosla Ventures.

“Payments are going mobile and we want to be at the forefront of this trend,” said Matthew Key, Chairman and CEO, Telefónica Digital.

“BOKU has quickly established itself as a true innovator in the mobile commerce space and this investment gives us access to their tools, infrastructure and know how, ideally complementing our own mobile payments expertise.

"In addition to the investment we are also embarking on a global partnership with BOKU to enhance our operator billing capabilities and the overall payment experience through our future mobile wallet services.”

Financial Services is a key focus area for Telefónica’s Digital unit that has been formed to drive growth and innovation across a range of digital services. Telefónica is committed to bringing mobile wallet and other innovative payments services to its customers across its operating businesses and through Wanda, its joint venture in Latin America with MasterCard. Tracy Isacke who runs the Venture Capital arm of Telefónica Digital and is based in Silicon Valley led the investment in BOKU.

Last month BOKU launched a white label NFC payments service with Mastercard, called BOKU Accounts, that was intended to allow operators to launch NFC payments services using an NFC sticker attached to a phone, to provide the NFC connectivity.

BOKU has raised a total of $75 Million in a series of funding rounds starting in 2008 when the company was formed. The company said it operates in 67 countries with 250 mobile network operators.