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January 15, 2015

Wheelings & Dealings: Cloud-Based Mobile Payments Firm Mozido Takes Majority Stake in CorFire

The mobile payments market is one that offers up a lot of competition all in one place, and given that level of competition, it's not at all surprising to see mergers, acquisitions, and outright shutdowns among the various businesses in the field as each tries to engineer the competitive advantage that will allow it to remain a viable business into the future. Mozido recently showed off this particular desire to rebuild as it took a controlling interest in CorFire, a company that focuses on mobile commerce.

With Mozido's acquisition of a majority stake in CorFire—itself owned by South Korea's SK C&C—Mozido takes on the opportunity to advance a major mobile wallet system known as Dunkin' Brands. That alone is a major move for the company, but thanks to the CorFire deal, Mozido will have the opportunity to expand further into the global market, taking advantage of a set of relationships forged among six of the top 20 mobile network operators (MNOs) on Earth.

This chain of relationships, meanwhile, is set to offer a reach of fully two billion users all told, or access to just over a quarter of the planet's population. Thanks to this arrangement, Mozido not only gets access to Dunkin' Brands—which itself includes Dunkin' Donuts and Baskin-Robbins—but also Dairy Queen and other such quick-service restaurants. Plus, Mozido can now access Jamaica's CONEC mobile wallet system, as well as Vodafone's line of services, opening up new services on a geographic scale as well.

Meanwhile, SK C&C remains a CorFire investor, and those currently using its services—CorMKT, CorPay and CorTSM among these—will likely see some improvements rolling out over the course of the next few weeks if some haven't already arrived. Slated to arrive will be to bring several common technologies into use under the single CorFire umbrella, including near field communications (NFC) as well as cloud-based mechanisms that offer greater security than previous tools. Further, enhancements to the mobile wallet system are also expected, including mobile bill payment and airtime top-up services that function without much regard to location as well as person-to-person payments. Finally, there are even new mobile loyalty features planned that will allow businesses to offer relevant, targeted discounts and other promotions to users to reward said users' loyalty.

At least, it should be noted, for now. The problem with Liberty's thinking here is that the leader today may not necessarily be the leader in even a few months from now. The rise of Apple Pay is proving to be a destabilizing market influence that's shaking up the entire field and causing just about every mobile payments provider out there to make fundamental changes to the operation, changes sufficiently fundamental, in fact, to alter the market with each passing day. Mozido may be top of the food chain right now, but at the rate the market's changing, it may well be dead last by February. Still though, it's clear that Mozido is thinking ahead here, and making key changes to supplement the business and make it better likely to survive.

Naturally, only time will tell just how well Mozido's plan has worked. There's no doubt this is a market that sees a lot of changes in a very short time frame, and as operations like Apple Pay grow, more changes will likely follow. Still, Mozido's got a clear plan, and is likely to see value from that plan.




Edited by Stefania Viscusi




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