Wonga Future 50: Semafone

The UK has a strong track record in developing security and anti-fraud software (cf, Sophos, nCipher and others). Semafone is bringing similar skills to credit card payments.

Payment solutions: sexy? No. But a very big and chaotic market.

Semafone’s technology allows payments to be made to call centres (notoriously leaky with customer data) without supplying actual financial information. Instead, the customer delivers the information direct to their bank, while on the phone to the call centre.

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Cue improvement to customer service – with a reduction in both the number of abandoned calls and average call handling time – and enhanced conversations between agent and customer.

Semafone received a £1.9m investment from Octopus Ventures in 2010 and a further £1.5m in 2012, primarily from existing investors. In March 2012, Semafone was recognised by the Merchant Risk Council for its contribution in this field. Another major 2012 development sas industry big-hitter, David Sear appointed as Semafone chairman. Turnover in 2011 was £2m, a five-fold increase on the previous year, and the company is forecasting rapid growth through 2012 and 2013.

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