A young Australian entrepreneur has raised over $420,000 in venture capital for his third party contactless payment system Tappr.
Tappr founder Brett Hales raised the funding from seed investors and a research and development grant from the Australian Taxation Office.
Tappr enables businesses to take contactless, tap or swipe payments from their customers via smart phones and tablets.
Hales told StartupSmart the idea was born while he was travelling in Hong Kong, and wondered why Australia didn’t have a transport card that could be used to pay for meals and other services.
“The idea was to transform that multi-function travel card into a phone function,” Hale says. “The smart phone revolution coming up, and the penetration into Australian markets meant we wanted to morph that kind of card onto a phone, and then we needed to build an ecosystem around it.”
Tappr is an online service with a plug-in device for processing eftpos payments.
Hales is also in negotiations for more venture capital with an international technology investment firm for several million dollars.
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Hale launched the venture with $18,000 of his own money, with the next cash infusion from the company secretary.
They then approached Melbourne-based venture group Tauro Capital, who connected them with seed and angel investors, eight of whom contributed $420,000 to the company.
“People can relate to this very easily, and see it every day in their world,” Hales says. “If they can identify with it, they can stomach spending investment money on it.”
Hales says he’s focused on communicating credibility and security of the device, service and company.
“We’re very entrepreneurial and most of us are under 35. But we’re committed to maintaining the trust and credibility of a bank because that’s what people expect from a payment company,” Hale says. “Security is the massive concern when you’re talking about transacting money. The climate in Australia for transacting money is very strict in Australia, probably more so than the rest of the world.”
The new funds will allow the company to grow rapidly. With a board of six, a team of seven and beta testers in Brisbane, Sydney and Melbourne, Hales says they’re working towards a national launch at the end of this year.
“It can be scaled quite easily internationally as well, as Australian security regulations are a bit high,” Hales says. “That’s the haphazard for other international competitors, but we’ve engineered this to go internationally quite quickly.”
Hales says he wants to make sure they focus on Australia for a full 12 months before exploring international options.
“Ideally, we’re looking at exploring new options in 18 months, and probably Singapore would be the ideal next market,” Hales says.