February 17, 2011

Boku is wheeling at the Mobile World Congress

Hi from Barcelona! We’ve been at the conference for three days now, seeing the booths, taking meetings and talking with the press. Today at 1:30 Ron is speaking in Hall 5, Room 6 about Mobile Money: The Next Wave of Mobile Financial Services. If you’re in town, come on by. If not, we’ll post a video of the presentation so you can enjoy the splendiferousness at your leisure.

Here’s a quick video of the show from the outside, some of the booths and screens a they’ve set up:

Here are some pics from the show:

android_boothThe Android booth – pretty well done. They have two stories, a slide, a juice bar and more demos than you can twiddle your thumbs on in a day.

tired-peopleHere are some tuckered out folks catching a cat nap.  Poor guys – probably kept up for the first mile or so.
ft-interviewAnd here’s Ron in an interview with a reporter and photographer from the Financial Times.

February 9, 2011

Boku to Speak at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona (and prizes too!)

mobile-world-congress-fira-barcelonaBoku has been invited to present at the GSMA’s Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. In case you’re new to mobile and not familiar with the GSMA, from their website: “The GSMA represents the interests of the worldwide mobile communications industry. Spanning 219 countries, the GSMA unites nearly 800 of the world’s mobile operators, as well as more than 200 companies in the broader mobile ecosystem, including handset makers, software companies, equipment providers, Internet companies, and media and entertainment organizations.”

Now that’s a prestigious organization, and we’re glad they’ve invited us to speak. Anyone who’s been to MWC knows it’s a big, crazy, awesome and exciting event.  Because Boku is the world leader in online mobile payments, with coverage in 65 countries (not cities guys, countries) across 230 different mobile carriers, we agree with the GSMA that we’re a sensible choice for a presentation. We’re grateful for the invitation, and glad to contribute to the conference.

In addition, Boku has been nominated for a Global Mobile Award and is invited to participate in the festivities.  Boku was nominated in the category of ‘Best Mobile Money Product or Solution’ along with other companies from all over the world.  We’re also honored to be nominated for such a prestigious award.  Now we hope we win it.

If you’re going to be in Barcelona, please come say hi.  Or just leave a comment here on our blog.

January 14, 2011

Boku Presents to PPR Senior Execs

ronfrancoisgucciBoku presented to PPR’s Senior Executives Wednesday at an event billed as a “Learning Expedition.”  PPR executives traveled from Paris to Silicon Valley in order to learn about retail trends and innovative new technologies coming out of the Bay Area.  PPR is a French holding company that counts The Gucci Group as well as Puma among its many properties.

PPR’s CEO & Chairman, Francois Henri Pinault, was in attendance and Boku’s Ron Hirson had a chance to talk one-on-one with the French billionaire about the future of mobile payments in retail.

Thank you to PPR and Francois for the opportunity to show how Boku is changing the way people pay for purchases online.

December 16, 2010

Taking one for the team

Boku travels the globe to bring mobile payments to as many people as possible and help merchants enable their customers to buy whether its from Argentina to … well we don’t have Zambia or Zimbabwe, so the UK will have to do.

We have merchants from all over this world, and some who are a few blocks from our office in San Francisco that have customers in countries they’ve never visited.  This specific blog post pays homage to the folks on the Boku team who have logged the miles on planes and the nights at hotels.  No frequent flier program makes up for the time away from family and friends, but there is great pride in moving forward with a rapidly changing industry and meeting our merchants and customers’ needs.

To give you a sense of some of the trials and tribulations that our road-weary business development folks face, we’ve posted this short video of one of our own at a dinner in South Korea partaking in a local delicacy:  LIVE SQUID.  Thank you, thank you for taking one for the team.

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December 1, 2010

Boku Inks Deals With Carriers In France, Korea For Mobile Payments

This morning, the French Association of Mobile Media (AFMM) and the three French mobile operators Bouygues Telecom, Orange France and SFR announced the arrival of Boku as the distributor of MPME Boku, the micro-payment solution online mobile billing platform.

Boku also announced direct mobile billing across Korean Carriers with a Mobilians Partnership.  The alliance provides Boku with access to one of the largest digital content markets in the world and enables Korean publishers to extend their business outside Korea for the first time.

mocoNews.net picked up the story in a great article that elaborates on the size and scope of the deals and how this will affect the French and Korean mobile payment market. Tweet away readers, or feel free to leave a comment below. And look for Boku when you checkout online!

November 15, 2010

Boku Shares Insight on Monetizing Content in the App Economy

Last week, Co-Founder Ron Hirson, was invited to speak on a panel at the Open Mobile conference at the San Francisco Marriott Downtown.  Some of the other panelists (pictured below, to Ron’s left) included John Malloy of Bluerun Ventures and Christina Quarles of Playdom.  Together they spoke about how mobile payments are reducing friction for consumers, increasing merchants’ bottom lines and the future of mobile payment technology.  Thanks to everyone in attendance and check out future Open Mobile Summits here: http://www.openmobilesummit.com/

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November 5, 2010

Boku Showcases at Media Technology Summit

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On October 19th, our Co-Founder Ron Hirson was invited by Landmark Ventures to attend the Media Technology Summit in Santa Monica, CA. As an Andreesen Horowitz portfolio company, Ron was there to highlight what we are doing as a company and how Boku is changing the face of mobile payments. Ron showcased Boku to industry leaders from around the country and demonstrated how mobile payment technology is gaining traction across the world.

Here are some photos from the summit:

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Boku continues to speak at various venues around the country and the world. Margaret Mackenzie our COO participated in a panel discussion at the Alternative Payment Systems Innovations conference two weeks ago, and Ron spoke again last week at the Digital Media West event in San Francisco. Next week Ron is speaking once more at the Open Mobile Summit, a C level annual event in San Francisco.  Spreading the word about mobile payments is a fun, albeit exhausting, mission.  We’ll keep you updated on where and when we’re speaking; if you’re attending Open Mobile, please come and say hi.

October 28, 2010

Boku is live with AT&T

This morning, at 6AM EST, we announced a trial with AT&T. This is a direct integration with AT&T, via an API they’ve made available specifically for mobile billing. What exactly does that mean? It means that AT&T customers will be able to make purchases online, and charge them to their wireless phone bill. Digging a little deeper, it’s even more interesting for the world of mobile payments, because this is a new type of deep integration and sophisticated payment infrastructure. Unlike older mobile payment systems that are based on antiquated technology (i.e. PSMS), this next-generation direct integration allows a much more complex and scalable payments infrastructure, one that includes things like pre and post authorization, advanced refunds, higher price points, and reduced carrier rates.

This is similar to the deal we struck a few weeks ago with Vodafone UK, and the one we’ve been enjoying for months with Globe in the Philippines. These next generation, direct carrier relationships are the future of mobile payments, and critical to the path we’re creating – one where mobile payments is a ubiquitous checkout option online, just like credit cards or PayPal.

The announcement saw some great pickup in the technology, payments and mainstream press, including a great article in Business Week, and a run on Techmeme.   There’s a list of great articles that talk about the details of the trial with AT&T, and what it means for mobile payments below. Tweet away readers, or feel free to leave a comment below. And look for Boku when you checkout online!

Some of the coverage we saw today:

October 5, 2010

Brand Recognition on Social Games

We were pleasantly surprised to find that our brand (Boku/Paymo) was listed as top 3 for alternative payments methods in a recent survey done by Inside Facebook. Found here:

http://www.insidefacebook.com/2010/10/05/social-gamers-are-most-familiar-comfortable-with-big-brand-payment-services/

From the article:

The most interesting data is on the smaller payment methods listed. Three — PayByCash, Ultimate Game Card and PayMo — were recognizable to over five percent of respondents.

Boku’s payment brand was recognizable more than 5% of respondents, and was 2x as big as the nearest mobile payments company. These last few quarters have been exciting for us in the countries we’ve launched (most recently Israel and Brazil), the partners who have joined on as merchants/publishers and the team that we’ve built.

Let us know if there is anything you think we should be doing better and how we can continue to improve our brand and service.

The Boku Team.

October 5, 2010

Carriers see the payments opportunity and are gearing up.

boku_logoA core part of our business here at Boku is to establish relationships with mobile carriers. Our hard work doing just that with our teams in the Americas, Asia and Europe has made us the biggest mobile payments provider enabling top tier merchants, with coverage in more than 60 countries (we just added Argentina, Israel and Brazil), and integration with more than 220 different carriers. We enable more than 2 billion consumers worldwide to “pay by mobile,” and we do a new transaction every second.

Over the past two years, Mobile Network Operators (MNO’s) have moved beyond exploration of mobile payments and are enabling a next generation set of functionality to capitalize on the opportunity to grow revenue from payments. Most specifically, the legacy payments system (usually PSMS) are being replaced by next generation API’s that are modeled after banks and credit cards. These direct billing API’s allow Boku to do things that haven’t been possible at this scale before in mobile payments (for example: auth, settle, refund, pre-auth, etc.). Not only are these API’s more robust, the rates at which MNO’s charge for these payments services have improved significantly, which opens new Ecommerce markets.

By working with our network of direct relationships, we can offer improved rates to our merchants and ultimately to the consumers. In other words, as we work closely with mobile carriers and reduce rates together, more and more merchants will accept mobile payments thereby growing the ecosystem.

These types of connections and rates started in Asia, have expanded across Europe and are coming to US as well. An example of one of our recent direct agreements is Vodafone UK. (In case you didn’t know, Vodafone Global is the 2nd largest carrier group in the world, behind only China Mobile.) This direct relationship with Vodafone UK does a few things:

  • Enables customers to charge their online purchases directly to their Vodafone pre and post paid accounts by connecting with Vodafone’s robust MPAY payments API.
  • Allows Vodafone customers make either single or subscription purchases of any amount between 5p and £30 GBP.
  • The connection also enables two-step authorization and capture, transaction processing and the ability pass refunds back to the customer’s account.

This new type of payments service offers merchants the best of all worlds: a frictionless, high-conversion payment flow combined with highly competitive interchange terms, faster payment terms, and credit card-like taxation treatment.

Deals like this make Boku ever more powerful for mobile phone users who like the ease-of-use, convenience and security of mobile payments. We want to enable consumers everywhere to pay by mobile, help carriers make more money by increasing the volume of payments and opening new revenue streams, and help merchants collect more money from the consumers who love their products. We’ll be posting more on this in the coming months, so stay tuned.