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More building blocks for Visa, this time from South Africa

  • By Timothy Roberts
  • Friday, July 22, 2011

Visa has purchased South African based Fundamo for $110 million. Out of Cape Town, Fundamo is a “building block” company that helps other companies (especially mobile networks) deliver financial solutions, including a full Enterprise edition service, alongside a Mobile Wallet and Mobile Banking product that can be white labelled and a number of other services.

Partnered with the GSM Association, mobile service provider Gemalto, and Sun Computing (to name three), Fundamo is one of those quiet companies that has quietly got on with the job since they were founded in 2000. The purchase by Visa gives a good return to the investors, and bolsters the Visa portfolio in the mobile banking space.

Readers will recall that Visa have invested in Square for an undisclosed amount, but did receive a seat on iPhone payment system’s corporate board; and in February acquired PlaySpan, an in-application payment system that’s used by over 1000 online games and virtual worlds for the purchase of goods and services, including their real-world git card system that allows people to charge up their virtual accounts.

For all the disruptive tendencies these starts-up promise, once they get established the big boys are going to wonder if it’s better to have a foot in the door, be it with a percentage of the company (Square) or by simply swooping in and making the acquisition. Being able to call on substantial cash reserves mean that covering the bases when a company shows success is a far smarter investment for Visa than potentially leaving a disruptive effort to build momentum on their own.