Sunday, April 7, 2013

Jusp raises €4,500,000 ($6,000,000) from Principia II and Vertis Venture Funds

JUSP Spa a Milan-based startup operating in the mobile POS hot market, announced on Wednesday 3rd April, 2013 the closing of a $ 6 million (€ 4.5 mln) equity round with two, also Milan-based, leading VC funds, Principia II and Vertis Venture. The investment round represent one of the biggest rounds ever made by VC funds in italian startups.

The round was led by Principia SGR and Vertis SGR with the participation of some angel investors: Stefano Calderano (previously BNL Paribas, Banca Intesa and Poste Italiane), Paolo Giuda (Lehman Brothers)  Bruno Spadoni (former DG Setefi), Giulio Valiante (Saldi Privati and Jobrapido) and Simone Ranucci Brandimarte (Glamoo), who also led the first $700k seed investment in 2012.

The new management board is composed by Stefano Calderano (Previously BNL Paribas, Banca Intesa and Poste Italiane) as Chief Executive Office (CEO), Paolo Giuda Chief Financial Officer (CFO), founders Jacopo Vannetti and Giuseppe Nicola Saponaro as CTO (Chief Technology Officer) and COO (Chier Operating Officer) respectively. Roberto Mazzei currently president of Principia SGR has been appointed Chairman of JUSP

Thanks to the equity injection, Jusp will be able to
 launch its innovative solutions both in Italy and other European countries. JUSP is the only italian company able to compete at international level in the mobile payments space and has worked on a proprietary mPOS device, clearly standing out from all other international competitor. While its competitors uses bluetooth technology to connect with mobile devices, meaning merchants have to work on two different devices, JUSP developed the smallest (7 cm) and lightest (only 130 gr) "Chip&Phin" mobile POS available on the market, as well as the only which can be connected to IOS and Android smartphones and tablets via the audio jack, creating a single appliance with the mobile device. This technological advantage was also recently confirmed and recognized by EPCA (European Payment Consulting Association), which together with  granted JUSP the Florin Award for the most innovative solution in the hot space of mobile payments (the giury were composed by representatives of , ING, Tieto and Santander). 

JUSP represents the easiest and most convenient alternative to classical banking POS, both fix and mobile ones, allowing professionals and merchants to accept mobile payment without the incurrence of typical fixed costs deriving from the lease and management of the POS. Think of taxy drivers, doctors, craftsmen, pitchmen (street sellers), professionals and regular merchants which can all now accept payments with credit or debit cards eliminating any kind of cask management and risk. Indeed, once connected to the smartphone or tabler, via the audio jack, the insertion of the credit/debt card allows the insertion of the amount to be cashed and the clients by tying the PIN code directly on the keyboard of its mobile device closes the transactions. This innovative solution costs just €39, levying just a 2.7%, merchant fee for any transaction, being the lowest on the market. Competitors' Chip & PIN solutions cost both €49 (iZettle and Payleven). Moreover, with iZettle, merchants pay 2.75% transaction fee. 

JUSP has also attracted the interest of several players of both US and European banking and finance sector and is seeking at some strategic partnerships to boost its international expansion on top of direct entry in some markets such as Italy, Spain, France and Brazil. Since JUSP is proprietary, it can also personalize its offer to cater for big corporations which need payment system linked to tablet applications provided to their mobile sales force (insurance companies, express couriers, utilities etc.). This is probably the biggest market opportunity at the moment which JUSP is ready to seize.

JUSP : (abbreviation of Just Pay) is a startup founded in November 2011 by its two Jacopo Vannetti and Giuseppe Nicola Saponaro at the enterprise accelerator of the "Foundation Politecnico di Milano" where works a team of 12 persons. The € 4,500,000 funding received by by Principia SGR and Vertis SGR will allow this italian project to compete in the international market by offering a very complete and innovative product.

Principia SGR is a leading actor in the italian venture capital arena. It manages two closed-end funds, "Principia Fund" and "Principia Fund II", with focus on innovative technologies. The fund is one of the beneficiaries of the resources of the Fund High Tech Sud promoted by DigItalia former DIT (Department for Innovation and Technologies). The competences developed in the sector of business innovation and "digital space" as well as the buit relations with the research institutions, universities, business and finance world, are the elements which combined together origins the formula of investment of the Principia funds. The shareholding structure of the Principia is composed by professionals of the venture capital world and two important institutional partners, CNR - the National Research Council - and the Foundation BNC. The Principia II Fund has by now invested more than 53 million Euros in 30 companies, of which 21 start-ups.  

Vertis SGR manages three closed-end funds focused on acquiring stakes in SMEs located in italian southern regions. The assets of the three funds totals €80 million. Vertis SGR can, therefore, accompany companies in all stages of their lives both in the initial (start-up) as well as in the growth and maturity phases (expasion and buy-out). Vertis SGR mis characterized by independence, location and know-how. Independence, in what its capital is represented by persons which are not related to any banking groups; location in what it is the only asset management company located in southern Italy. The geographical proximity to target companies facilitates the contact with local entrepreneurs; know-how in what it uses its considerable wealth of knowledge, experience an relationships built by its members in the last 15 years. Vertis SGR has agreements with 15 research centers and 7 universities from Southern Italy and has appointed as advisor (for patent and technology aspects) Fondamenta SGR, an investment firm which manages TT Venture, the Vertis fund for technology transfer. Vertis has already realized 18 investments in just over 3 years.