An up and coming company named Mobeam announced that it has received $1.5 million in funding from the Korea-based DFJ Athena VC fund and Ben DuPont. DuPont participated in Mobeam’s first $4.9 million round of funding, and has been serving as the chairman of the board ever since.
The startup managed to trigger investors’ curiosity with its patented light-based communications (LBC), which enables handsets to interact with the laser scanners that are commonly used by retail stores. According to Mobeam, this was previously impossible, namely because smartphone screens are not bright enough on their own.
The startup says that its solution can give the majority of the handsets out there the necessary boost without the need for any modifications on either end, and that its main purpose is to digitalize coupons. The fresh capital will be used to boost industry adoption – mainly via promotional initiatives rather than R&D – and to further flesh out the technology.
Adoption is what Mobeam is lacking right now, but the startup is certainly making progress.
“As is demonstrated by the partnership between mobeam and the world’s largest consumer packaged goods producer, P&G, coupons are the missing link in the mobile commerce value chain,” said Perry Ha, founder and managing director of DFJ Athena. “With a global retail infrastructure already in place that utilizes a very widely accepted standard for coupon scanning – one dimensional barcodes, or UPC symbols – what is necessary is for the mobile technology to embrace that infrastructure.”
All the buzz around NFC, LBC and other fancy acronyms in the mobile world is generated thanks to the growing use of smartphones in real-life interactions. Retail and personal finance are two of the most active sectors in this regard. Just last week Dwolla had some news with the roll out of updates across its mobile app portfolio.