Telefonica invests in Boku

MADRID - The investment arm of giant Spanish telco Telefónica has participated in a $35 million funding round in San Francisco-based mobile payments startup Boku.

Telefónica - which is soon to launch its own mobile wallet service - joined other investors including New Enterprise Associates (NEA), Andreessen Horowitz, Benchmark Capital, DAG Ventures, Index Ventures and Khosla Venture in raising the financing.

The four-year old startup, which operates a direct carrier billing model for m-commerce in both online and offline environments, has raised $75 million so far and operates in 67 countries through 250 mobile network operators.

The partnership will provide Telefónica with access to Boku's merchant network, expanding the number of places customers will be able to use their Telefónica mobile wallet for purchases.

Matthew Key, chairman and CEO, Telefónica Digital, says: "Boku has quickly established itself as a true innovator in the mobile commerce space and this investment and partnership gives us access to their tools, infrastructure and know how, ideally complementing our own mobile payments expertise. Working with Boku will allow us to both enhance our operator billing capabilities and the overall payment experience through our future mobile wallet services."

Telefónica has past experience of working with Boku, integrating the direct carrier billing capability in Germany through its O2 subsidiary in March last year.

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