Silicon Valley’s eagerness to invest in India is intensifying.
In the latest move, Silicon Valley-based investors have pumped several million dollars into Paymate, a service that wants to let you make payments by mobile phone. Its service hasn’t launched yet. But this continues a revival in mobile payment companies, after a few early players didn’t work out. (In a company announcement sent to us, they didn’t tell us how much was invested, but ContentSutra places it close to $5 million).
The investment continues the partnership formed by Google founding investor Ram Shriram and one of Silicon Valley’s best-known venture firms, Kleiner Perkins — an alliance we mentioned just a few days ago. This is the team’s third investment.
There are plenty of mobile payment players out there, but Paymate will focus on the Indian market, which has its own cultural trends and regulations. Paymate says it is focused on ease-of-use and security.
Paymate is founded by Ajay Adiseshann, formerly the CEO of Corusscant Tec (a mobile value added services company) and Probir Roy, formerly CIO of StarTV and Co-Founder Coruscant Tec. The Company is advised by Alex Kuruvilla, the former head of MTV Networks in India.
Ajit Nazre seems to be Kleiner’s internal lead on India. He commented on the investment, saying India mobile phones in India are so popular that they play the role computers do in the West. Indeed, the country has twice as many cell-phone subscribers as land-line owners, and as Norwest’s Vab Goel was just telling us, SMS is the rage there.
Earlier, we mentioned two new ambitious mobile payment services, Silicon Valley’s Obopay and PayPal Mobile, which both launched in April. They, in turn, joined a host of existing players: Textpayme, of Redmond, WA, which uses text messaging to send payments to other phones; Way Systems, of Woburn, Mass., founded about four years ago, and backed by Bessemer Venture Partners and VantagePoint Venture Partners; and Mobilelime, of Watertown Mass., which raised $4 million last year.