French Internet payment software startup GlobeID Software has raised nearly $10 million from European venture capitalists to expand into the US and Asia Pacific markets.
GlobeID makes software to handle credit and debit card payments, electronic data interchange (EDI) and electronic bill payment and presentment in multiple currencies, on the Internet.
The company's products centre around smartcard technology and it was Bull's Smartcard Division that provided a significant amount of the initial funding to refine development of the product when GlobeID was formed in 1997. Bull remains a shareholder.
GlobeID products include a wallet for users to make payments from an ultra thin device such as a wireless phone, TV set-top box, or network computer, which service providers can use to add payment functions to their network applications.
It has also developed payment systems for open smartcard devices such as the ePurse, which is widely deployed in Germany, the Netherlands, and Belgium. This can be used with a PC to make Internet purchases. The company has been helped by the fact that the smartcard market in Europe is much further advanced both in technology and in takeup than the US market.
This is a factor which Fabrice de Comarmond, GlobeID's vice president for business development, believes will give the company a competitive edge in its bid to conquer US rivals Cybercash and Cybersource.
This week GlobeID opens a US office in San Mateo, California, which will function as a business development office, he said.
Unlike many startups GlobeID sought initial capital from the management team and industry investors rather than from venture capitalists. The company thought Bull would make a good partner because it was a fairly large systems integrator, especially in the financial services sector and had a significant business linked to smartcards and terminals, said Comarmond.
GlobeID now uses Bull's smart card technology in its product and has a reseller relationship with Bull Integris in the UK, in addition to London based Lasercom.
"Bull at the time didn't have much of an ecommerce strategy. It also had a smart card and terminals business which were sold as separate items but had no software to sell a complete solution. People want to buy a complete solution now," he explained.
New investors in this latest round of financing include the lead investor, Venture Partners of Switzerland, the co-lead, Ackermans & van Haaren of Belgium, JAFCO of Japan and Generale Bank (Fortis Group) of Belgium.
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