Verizon Ventures took an undisclosed stake in SimplyTapp, an early developer of host card emulation (HCE) technology which supports NFC-based payments without needing access to the secure element in a smartphone.
The US mobile operator’s venture arm participated in a mysterious $5.9 million Series B funding round in December 2014, where the identity of investors was not revealed. Even though Verizon has now gone public, the size of its investment in SimplyTapp is not.
Vijay Doradla, a director of Verizon Ventures, joined SimplyTapp’s board.
Verizon Wireless, along with AT&T and T-Mobile US, backed a NFC payments venture called Softcard (formerly Isis) in the US. However, the operators pulled the plug on Softcard in March 2015.
“At Verizon Ventures, we have been keeping a close eye on the mobile payment space, which has been rapidly evolving over the past year,” wrote Doradla in a blog
“HCE may set the stage for a cloud-based credential management platform that could serve a host of diverse applications such as mobile payments, ticketing, and hospitality among others where any party can create a Near Field Communication (NFC) credential for the mobile device,” he added.
HCE and NFC are having an impact on a number of segments, including banking, where card-issuing institutions use SimplyTapp to equip their mobile apps with NFC HCE capabilities, delivering payment experience for their customers without relying on the non-issuer-controlled secure element, Doradla wrote.
In retail, the platform supports gift cards and private-label credit cards for retailers, providing them with an environment to accept payment at the point-of-sale while integrating with any existing loyalty programs.
Other segments impacted by the technology include public transport, ticketing and hospitality.