US vendor Boku has secured US$35 million in funding to expand its existing operator-billing service as well as grow its new white-label wallet for mobile operators. One of its two new investors is Telefonica Digital which will also form a global partnership with Boku. The partnership aims to boost Telefonica's existing operator billing capabilities and its other mobile payment and wallet developments. The other new investor in the vendor is New Enterprise Associates (NEA), a venture firm. Boku says it will use the funding to expand staff, broaden its infrastructure and continue the expansion since its launch in 2009.
Boku recently launched a new white-label mobile wallet service. The company has not yet announced any operators as customers although it said previously the service should be running in the UK after Easter (early April) when “a major mobile carrier will be involved in the scheme”. Telefonica O2 is one of the UK’s five mobile operators although the current announcement does not specifically state the two companies will work together in the UK (it talks more generally about global partnership).
Existing investors also contributed to the round made up of an array of high profile US venture firms: Andreessen Horowitz, Benchmark Capital, DAG Ventures, Index Ventures and Khosla Ventures. Boku's background is in carrier billing which is used for the purchase of digital goods. The launch of the mobile wallet service is a shift by the vendor into payments for physical goods.