Philippines telecoms giant PLDT and Rocket Internet, the German investor, are each contributing their payment activities to a mobile-first venture with a focus on emerging markets.
PLDT, an innovator domestically over many years in payments, will contribute the IP, platforms and business operations of Smart e-Money, a leader in mobile banking and remittances. Smart is the largest mobile operator in the Philippines.
Rocket’s contribution to the venture is Paymill, an online payments firm, and Payleven, which enables small businesses to accept transactions via smartphone and tablet.
The new venture, which does not currently have a name, is 50-50 owned. The transaction is expected to close in Q1 2015.
The two partners announced last summer their intention to work together when PLDT bought a 10 per cent stake in the German firm for $446 million. The current announcement gives more detail about their plans. However, it is not yet clear what new services they plan to launch.
Rocket has built its reputation by rapidly reproducing the successful business models of others, while Smart has a long history of payment innovation for the unbanked in the developing world. Hence the combination has the potential to produce some interesting results.