Spanish bank BBVA joins Groupon and AmEx to back SumUp ahead of Brazil launch



European mobile payments company SumUp has closed an investment deal with multinational Spanish bank BBVA as it prepares to expand to South America – including Brazil – and strengthen its position in Spain and Portugal.

The undisclosed sum of new funding extends SumUp’s Series B round, which it first closed with heavyweight new investors Groupon and American Express in May, and follows a $20m Series A round in b-to-v Partners, Shortcut Ventures, Tengelmann Ventures and early Facebook and Skype investor Klaus Hommels in mid-2012.

SumUp, founded in Berlin and London in 2011 and now headquartered in Dublin, offers an app and card reader that lets merchants turn smartphones and tablets into mobile payment terminals in exchange for a 2.75 per cent fee per transaction. It’s got a number of new products in the works, including SumUp Point of Sale Box, a kit deal including pre-configured iPad, iPad stand, receipt printer, cash drawer and Wi-Fi router for a monthly rental charge of about €70.

SumUp is part of a suite of companies offering similar services in different markets, including Square in the US, Swedish company iZettle and Rocket Internet’s Payleven. Expanding to Central and South America – preferably in partnership with a Spanish bank – seems to be flavour of the year. In June, iZettle announced a €5m investment deal with international bank Santander and expansion into Mexico. Payleven is already active in Brazil.

For now, SumUp’s partnership with BBVA – which claims over 50m customers in 32 countries – is purely financial, taking place via the bank’s US investment arm BBVA Ventures. “It’s a financial investment but it makes a lot of sense for us, especially since we’re planning to expand to South America,” SumUp Managing Director Stefan Jeschonnek said. The parties are “exploring” other options for partnership.

The company isn’t commenting on where it will launch in South America but a sign-up page is already live for Brazil. Jeschonnek declined to confirm whether Brazil will be the first market for SumUp in the region or if it will launch in multiple countries in quick succession, saying only that the company has been on the ground since fall 2012 and will make its first market entry in South America later this year. 

The timing for Brazil would make sense – with the FIFA World Cup 2014 and Summer Olympics 2016 on the way and a bank with experience in the country behind it, SumUp could have its best shot yet at bringing mobile terminals to the masses beyond the US.

Image credit: Flickr user Thomas


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