With $25 Million Investment, M-Payment Startup Clinkle Preps College Campus Launch (July 2, 2013)
July 2, 2013
The latest mobile payments startup dazzling Silicon Valley tech investors is Clinkle Corp., which last week announced it has raised $25 million from several high-profile backers to launch a payment platform already in pilot at Stanford University. Details are scanty so far, but Clinkle reportedly is a smartphone app that links to any payment card or bank account and requires no hardware changes for merchants. Launched in 2011, Clinkle is the brainchild of 22-year-old Stanford grad Lucas Duplan, who already oversees 50 employees and plans to rapidly expand the company at its new San Francisco headquarters and roll out the platform later this year.
Clinkle, which says it’s currently operating in “stealth mode,” initially is targeting businesses around college campuses. The app will lean on social media and make it easy for users to transfer funds to one another and create groups for group transactions, according to reports. The startup has grabbed attention because its investors include big names like Accel Partners, Andreessen Horowitz, Intel Capital and Intuit Inc. Clinkle has not disclosed its core technology, but it reportedly works by enabling smartphones and other mobile devices to communicate with computers, such as POS terminals, via high-frequency sound technology.
Even with a unique technology and sizable seed money, Clinkle faces the same daunting hurdles of every other payments startup, according to Cherian Abraham, a senior consultant with Experian’s Global Consulting Practice. If Clinkle can painlessly deliver something merchants need, such as customer loyalty or target-marketing tools, they certainly have a chance at success, Abraham tells Paybefore. “But Clinkle doesn’t have scale, and if you’re not born with scale you will be struggling against every other mobile payment and wallet aggregator out there,” he suggests.