iPad payments service for small firms to launch in UK with $60m investment

5 things successful small retailers must track in the digital age, as told by ShopKeep's boss

In particular, the firm generally works with retailers and restaurants – counting 18,000 merchants registered to its services. They use its software to transform iPads into tills that can process transactions, record sales history, manage staff and so on.

The UK has been named as the location that will signal the start of an aggressive international expansion for ShopKeep, and Christophe Delacroix, the co-founder of a similar service called Bluebird, has been hired to lead that effort.

“From the moment I founded this company in the back of my grocery store in 2008, we’ve worked towards one objective – making independent retailers and restaurateurs more successful. We now provide a one-stop-shop for merchants looking for cutting edge technology and 24/7 personal customer service,” said Jason Richelson, ShopKeep founder.

Traditionally, the UK and US payments systems were separated by Britain’s high adoption of chip and pin security. However, American electronic POS companies have now embraced chip and pin-based sales and that combined with the UK launch of Apple Pay have been highlighted as factors removing barriers for US firms like ShopKeep.

With barriers removed, it’s thought more American iPad payment providers will look to target the UK in the coming months, making competition fiercer than ever before.

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According to ShopKeep, 41 per cent of British SMEs use Windows-based systems, 37 per cent use electronic cash tills and just four per cent possess iPad POS units, meaning a large growth opportunity.

Activant led the Series D round for ShopKeep, which has now raised a total of $97.2m in total since launching for business. As it plans to achieve further scale, the firm already achieved a 138 per cent year-on-year revenue growth in June 2015, while over $5bn worth of transactions have been processed in the past year.

Richelson added: “With this funding we’re looking to fundamentally change how small businesses are run in the UK. We’re essentially becoming an affordable IT department for the small business owner, democratising access to the kind of technology and data that used to be the preserve of big corporates.

“Ultimately this means merchants are able to run more efficient operations. Companies of this size are the backbone of Britain’s economy and we want to deliver them the tools required to thrive in the current climate. The future of independent retail and hospitality in the UK and Ireland is bright and we want to play a big part in it.”

He’s right about the latter part, as Visa data has revealed the British hospitality sector is thriving with consumers spending more on eating out and hotels.

The founder of Activant Capital, Steve Sarracino, called this “a crucial time” for mobile payments and small businesses as growth of their operations, and those of rivals, heat up.

“We see tremendous opportunity for the company to build on its existing success as the operating system for small business and retail, and rise above the noise to cement its position as the industry leader in this space,” he said.

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