Vend's quest for world domination got a boost last week thanks to a US partnership with Paypal and its base of 110 million active users.
The trial means customers can check into a shop using the Paypal app. Vend notifies the retailer of any checked-in customers and automatically syncs to its customer database for easy access to sales history and customer management. The customer pays for a purchase using the app; the store confirms the transaction using their name and photo.
Vend is also taking registrations of interest for retailers in Canada, Australia, Japan, and Hong Kong, with the rest of the world to come "in time".
Founder Vaughan Rowsell said the deal was two months in the making and gave Vend retailers
immediate access to a huge base of customers armed with mobile payments.
"In the first meeting we showed them our vision of the future, and it was in line with theirs. So we did a proof of concept, and it worked and the next thing you know we are launching it with them at an event at their HQ in San Jose with David Markus, the president of Paypal.
"I don't think we thought too much about it at the time, we were just focussed on making something magic. Looking back, I can say 'Wow' now."
Rowsell said it made sense for Paypal to enter bricks-and-mortar retail transactions, as did Google, and he expected Apple and Facebook to get in on the action at some point.
He also urged other entrepreneurs to push on and not hold back.
"Be single-mindedly determined about your vision, and don't let anything get in the way. Procrastination is your worst enemy, and with most of these things, timing is everything. We had an awesome product in market that could do what was required to make the Paypal mobile payment work, at the right time when they were looking to innovate in this space. None of it could have happened if I didn't make the decision to
start those two or so years ago."
Good for business
US design store and gallery Rare Device is one of the retailers involved.
Owners Giselle and Phurba Gyalzen say the integration of Paypal and Vend is the future, making it easier for customers to shop and for them to run the store.
"It allows us to recognise our customers by name and face and allows us to provide them with a much more personal shopping experience," said Phurba in a promo video for Vend.
Adds Giselle: "It's really good for business."
Paypal also announced a bundle of other deals at the same time . Those included partnerships with POS software providers Leapset, ShopKeep and Erply as well as Vend, which would give it access to 50,000 mid-market businesses offline; VeriFone and Equinox, the number one and number three POS terminal manufacturers in the world; and 15 new US national retailers.
In March, Paypal launched a mobile credit card reader to compete with mobile payment company Square.
Vend picks up another $2m
Rowsell says the past year has brought unprecedented demand for Vend. It has raised $2 million in funding, led again by by Point Nine Capital in Europe, which also spearheaded Vend's last investment round in August.
“We’re incredibly impressed with the development of Vend since our first investment in the company about a year ago,” said Christoph Janz of Point Nine.