Today San Francisco-based CARDFREE announced the launch of its white label end-to-end mobile, online, and point-of-sale (POS) payment solutions to help merchants adopt mobile payments, and make it easier for smartphones to eventually become the first thing consumers reach for when they approach the checkout. The company’s platform will give merchants the ability to better manage promotions, process payments, and access analytics with integrations through their existing POS. The company also announced that it has closed a $10 million Series A round of funding from Jeffery Katz, founder of payment processor Mercury Payment Solutions and previous investor in companies like Restaurant Sciences and Snapfinger.
In an interview with BetaKit, CEO Jon Squire said the company will be using the capital to add to its engineering team. Squire was most recently the CMO at CorFire, which led Dunkin’ Donuts’ mobile efforts, and was SVP of Payments at mFoundry, a mobile payments company that works with retailers and financial institutions, where he led the team that developed the mFoundry-powered Starbucks Mobile App.
“We’ve got a combination of folks who were vendors to merchants like ourselves who are from mFoundry, CorFire, and then we’ve also gone to what we think is exciting territory and hired from the merchants themselves,” Squire added. “That point there is to understand not only the pain points but the points of integration, all the other sort of roadmap issues that merchants themselves may directly feel that we may not know being on the vendor side.”
With CARDFREE, merchants will be able to create digital prepaid cards which the company states work with 90 percent of existing POS systems. However, the company recognizes that processing mobile payments is just one part of the equation, which is why it also built out its platform to offer merchants the ability to manage deals, loyalty and rewards, and social media engagement, in addition to providing reporting tools and analytics to help them gauge the effectiveness of their campaigns. The company will price its services based on the requirement of each individual merchant, depending on whether they have existing mobile payment infrastructure or need to build something from scratch.
When asked what set CARDFREE apart from competitors like LevelUp, which recently partnered with First Trade Union Bank showcasing its own ability to build white labeled mobile payment apps, in addition to companies like Square, Isis, and PayPal, Squire went first and foremost to the team behind the startup, noting the success of both Starbucks and Dunkin’ Donuts’ mobile features. He then added that currently merchants have to turn to a wide array of vendors to manage different parts of the puzzle, whether it’s offers, coupons, payment processing or analytics, and CARDFREE is looking to be an all-in-one solution.
The company will be looking to work with a handful of merchants to make the case for its approach in an increasingly competitive landscape before scaling any further. With its platform, CARDFREE hopes to increase the rate at which merchants go to market with their mobile payment solutions, and will be looking to use the funding and a team of seasoned industry veterans to win some key accounts. Whether it succeeds in trumping more established and recognizable brands is something that remains to be seen, but the team’s history with Starbucks and other retailers means it already has a head start.