Plextek, the leading Cambridge design house and proven breeding ground for innovative new technology, today announced its backing of Cambridge-based secure mobile payments start up Iceni Mobile. Plextek has worked closely with Iceni Mobile since 2008, contributing ongoing financial backing along with technical and commercial consultancy to support the development and deployment of its pioneering secure mobile payments platform Identity to Service (I2S).
Iceni Mobile was formed from the team that created and ran Vodafone’s multi-award winning mobile payments service M-PESA. With I2S Iceni has created the world’s first next generation mobile services and payments platform, building on the successes and know how shown in M-PESA but delivering on a new level of innovation: one which provides a single platform for the many mobile services each person may have, whilst delivering on the scalability, flexibility and operational efficiency required for a truly mass market solution. Icenioffers the I2S platform as a turn-key white label service which is then supported by fully managed technology and business operations.
From the foundation of Plextek’s early stage support Iceni has been able to successfully accelerate its vision, by securing an investment from the MIH Group (part of multinational media group Naspers Limited). MIH has provided series A and B funding, strategic management support and will assist Iceni in gaining access to the Naspers group’s emerging market footprint.
Iceniis now rolling out its first two commercial deployments in Columbia and Bolivia. A further four deployments are also planned in the next six months.
“The demand for fast, safe and low cost payments by phone is very strong within emerging markets where mobile phone take-up outstrips access to formal financial services. It was immediately clear to us that Iceni Mobile’s proposition had masses of potential thanks to the credibility of its founders and the strength of its technology,” commented Plextek’s Technical Director, Ian Murphy. “At Plextek we have a strong track record as an incubator and have helped numerous start ups like Iceni to turn concepts into reality. We’re delighted at the success Iceniis already seeing. As a significant shareholder, we continue to be involved moving forward, and see a great future ahead for the company.”
“Plextek’s backing unquestionably gave us the impetus and the environment we needed to get initial technology and market development off the ground,” comments Tim Murdoch, CEO, Iceni Mobile. “We had access to a large pool of specialist knowledge and wireless design experience, which has accelerated our progress and given us a real commercial edge. This foundation has been a catalyst for helping us to attract essential additional funding which in turn is helping us to improve the capabilities of our technology, attract staff and grow the company by expanding the number of markets we’re able to serve around the world.”
Iceni’s experience of mobile payments has demonstrated the opportunity that a live and successful payment service brings to broaden mobile services generally, not just for financial transactions. The company is also building a pipeline of mobile data service modules in addition to its mobile payments; for example, modules for micro-finance ledgers and investments, rural medical and healthcare services and mobile and e-commerce are all under in pilot.
About Plextek Limited
Based near Cambridge, UK, Plextek (plextek.com) was established in 1989 and has grown to be one of the largest independent electronics and communications design facilities in Europe. It provides innovative design of complex communication systems and devices for a wide range of companies from technology start-ups to multi-national engineering conglomerates, and also undertakes supply of the finished products.
Plextek operates across the telecoms, automotive, medical and defence sectors. In addition to supplying a range of its own security products (Blighter Ground Surveillance Radar), the company prides itself in providing an outsourced resource of highly experienced, multidisciplinary engineering skills to organisations that require challenging electronics design projects to be delivered within competitive time and cost constraints. Business services include strategic consulting, technology studies, product and concept design, introduction to manufacture and full contract manufacturing.
Its 300 clients encompass a range of global organisations, from BAE Systems, the UK MoD, QinetiQ and Raytheon to TDK and Sony. Plextek also supplies automotive security products to both LoJack Corporation and TRACKER Network (UK) Ltd.
Plextek has won numerous industry awards including two Queen’s Awards for Enterprise, for Innovation and International Trade, ‘Consultancy of the Year’ at the British Engineering Excellence Awards (BEEAs) and in 2010 was awarded the title of ‘Business of the Year’ in the Cambridge News Business Excellence
About Naspers Limited
Naspers is a broad-based media group operating in 129 countries. It is listed on the JSE Limited (JSE), with an ADR listing on the London Stock Exchange. Its principal operations are in internet platforms (focusing on e-commerce, communities, content, communication and games), pay-television and the provision of related technologies, and some print media. Several of Naspers’s businesses hold leading market positions. The group’s most significant operations are in emerging markets, including Africa, China, Latin America, Central and Eastern Europe, Russia and India.
Chris King/Darren Willsher,
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T: +44 20 8408 8000.
Johanna Hughes, Plextek Ltd
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T: +44 1799 533200 / F: +44 1799 533201.
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