SAN FRANCISCO, USA: Mobeam Inc. announced that the company has added another $1.5 million on top of the $4.9 million Series A venture round announced in October 2011. The company adds new investor DFJ Athena, a Korea-focused venture fund affiliated with Draper Fisher Jurvetson, as well as new funds from existing investor and board chairman Ben DuPont. DFJ Athena’s founder and managing director, Perry Ha, also joins mobeam’s board of directors.
The new funding follows the company’s announcement in December that it is partnering with Procter & Gamble to bring the first-ever fully mobile couponing system to market. The innovation makes electronic coupons presented on a phone or other mobile device scannable, so shoppers need only their phones/handhelds, not a stack of coupons, at checkout.
Mobeam’s patented technology overcomes the technical barrier preventing mobile phones from interacting with the laser scanners used at retail locations around the world. Funds from this multimillion dollar funding round will be used to establish mobeam’s light based communications (LBC) technology as a new industry standard allowing mobile phones to interact with point of sale (POS) technology. Mobeam is also using these new funds to accelerate business development efforts with major consumer and retail brands for mobile couponing and other broad mobile commerce initiatives.
“As is demonstrated by the partnership between mobeam and the world’s largest consumer packaged goods producer, P&G, coupons are the missing link in the mobile commerce value chain,” said Perry Ha, founder and managing director of DFJ Athena. “With a global retail infrastructure already in place that utilizes a very widely accepted standard for coupon scanning – one dimensional barcodes, or UPC symbols – what is necessary is for the mobile technology to embrace that infrastructure. The most elegant way to do that is through a software solution. With many handset makers in Korea, DFJ Athena believed investing in mobeam’s software based solution was an obvious choice.”
Due to the way mobile handset screens are constructed, even the most vibrantly displayed barcode cannot be read by the commonly used laser scanners found at point of sale in most retailers. Mobeam technology affordably adapts existing mobile technology to already deployed retail POS infrastructure, opening the door to a wide range of previously impossible mobile commerce programs and services.
Mobeam’s patented light based communication technology utilizes LED technology already present on the vast majority of handsets to transform barcodes into a beam of light that every laser scanner can read. This technology makes it possible, for the first time, for a phone to present a coupon that can be easily and conveniently scanned and redeemed, without the need for retailers to upgrade their technology. Beyond mobile couponing, mobeam’s technology brings applications such as mobile ticketing and other mobile content enabled services to the next level.