For all of the innovation happening around the point-of-sale, a large segment of local commerce happens outside of brick-and-mortar stores. Flint, a Redwood-based company, wants to tap into that market by bringing payment processing, and basic marketing capabilities, to mobile — without a dongle. The company announced a $6 million series B round of funding at Street Fight Summit this morning, led by Digicel Group with additional funding from SVG Venture.
The company’s technology allows businesses to process payments using the smartphone’s camera to scan the consumer’s credit card details, and then completes the transaction. The product also offers a few basic marketing tools that allow businesses to use payment data to automate a number of marketing process such as email follow ups or social media posts.
“Mobile businesses function fundamentally different than a coffee shop and that’s at the core of our DNA, and how we’re different from companies like Square and Paypal,” Greg Goldfarb, chief executive at Flint, told the audience Friday. “There’s over 17 million of these service businesses that operate on the go, and the one thing that’s unique about them is that there’s no sign of a point-of-sale.”
Like other newer players in the payment space, Flint is looking to counter Square’s massive user base and deep pockets with an emphasis on openness and partnership-driven scale. The company offers a branded app directly to businesses, but Goldfarb says the company also offers a number of co-branded and white-labeled products that can be used, or resold, by a partner.
“As a company, from the beginning of Flint, we thought about building an ecosystem,” said Goldfarb. “We’re not looking to own the network; we’re looking to change the world for small businesses.”
For Flint, like others, the payment is just the beginning. The company offers a number of marketing services that not only leverage a business’s transaction data, but can also automate actions against it. For instance, the app allows businesses to automatically deliver receipts to customers after they make a purchase, with a prompt asking that customer to post review online or recommendation on a social network.
The service industry in the United States is massive, and unlike other sectors, most of the spending has remained local. A number of companies like Booker have built out back-end software for the service sector, but much of the focus has been on larger, grounded business like salons. The question for Flint is whether the dongle-payment processing technique will add enough value for these businesses, to allow the firm to carve out a solid audience in the face of much larger firms like Square.
Steven Jacobs is Street Fight’s deputy editor.
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