20. September 2013–
German payments company Payleven, which counts the Berlusconi family among investors, is continuing its push into Italy with a deal with post office bank Poste Italiane.
Payleven joins a growing number of companies (Square, SumUp, iZettle, PayPal, Intuit etc) who offer a reader that can be used with a smartphone or tablet to take card payments. It's an alternative to a traditional card terminal and particularly suitable for small merchants, freelancers and those who need to take payments on the go.
Payleven – founded by Alston Zecha, Rafael Otero and Konstantin Wolff – started up in Berlin in early 2012. Since then, it's grown to about 90 employees and expanded to the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Italy, Poland, Austria and Brazil.
According to documents filed in June 2013, Payleven Holding GmbH's largest investor is Berlin-based company builder Rocket Internet (about 53 per cent) followed by New Enterprise Associates (about 14 per cent), Holtzbrinck Ventures (about 11 per cent) and B Cinque (about eight per cent). B Cinque is – according to media reports – the fund of the five children of former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi.
Under the terms of the deal with government-owned Poste Italiane, Payleven's device will be stocked in all 14,000 Poste Italiane and BancoPosta branches from October. Anyone with a BancoPosta account will be able to sign up. "With this co-operation, Poste Italiane is expanding its attractive value-added services for small and medium-sized businesses," BancoPosta Head of Retail Carolina Gianardi said.
A spokesman for Payleven said neither B Cinque nor the Berlusconi family were involved in the deal. "The co-operation between Poste Italiane and Payleven was directly negotiated and achieved between both parties," he said.
This is the latest in a series of investment or partnership deals by European mobile card reader companies. Swedish company iZettle is working with Deutsche Telekom and Germany's DZ Bank as well as Banco Santander; SumUp, headquartered in Berlin, recently closed an investment deal with multinational Spanish bank BBVA.
Images: via Payleven