Telefónica Digital has taken a stake in mobile payments company Boku, as the business raised $35m in funding.
The operator described the investment as a 'significant development' as it gears up for the launch of its mobile wallet services. Boku will become Telefónica's preferred mobile payments partner. The round to raise investment will be used to expand Boku's team, broaden its infrastructure network and continue the business' expansion. Last month the mobile wallet service teamed up with Mastercard for a mobile payments system, which should launch by Easter.
Telefónica refused to disclose the level of investment but said it was less than $10m. Matthew Key, chairman and CEO of Telefónica Digital said: 'Payments are going mobile and we want to be at the forefront of this trend. 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 knowhow, 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.'
Other investors in the round included New Enterprise Associates, Andreessen Horowitz, Benchmark Capital, DAG Ventures, Index Ventures and Khosla Ventures.
Boku CEO Mark Britto said: 'Payments is an industry that requires scale, and in the three years since Boku launched we've grown rapidly to partner with more than 250 mobile network operators, processing transactions in 67 countries around the world. We see this investment as a clear vote of confidence from our new partners at NEA and Telefónica. They recognise that we've established a mobile billing system that offers bank grade technology on a global scale; this strategic investment will help us expand our business as well as facilitate the growth of our new Boku Accounts platform.'
Editor: Graeme Neill