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Zong raises $15M in funding to grow mobile payments business

The company also hopes to expand merchant and carrier networks and continue growth into international markets. Additionally, the company claims that the funding will help convert buyers into Zong users.

“The 15 million will position the company for growth by adding more merchants accepting Zong as a method of payment, by signing up and connecting more carriers, by ensuring Zong converts more and more buyers into Zong+ users, and addressing new market verticals,” said Hill Ferguson, vice president of product management and marketing at Zong, Palo Alto, CA.

Zong is a mobile payment service used by online gaming and social networking sites around the world.

Matrix Partners is a capital firm that has invested in businesses such as Apple Computer Inc., SanDisk, Veritas, Sycamore Networks,, Starent Networks, JBoss and Gilt Groupe.

Mobile funding
In addition to expanding its merchant and carrier networks, the company will continue its growth into international markets.

“The convenience and ease of Zong has the potential to make it a ubiquitous payment option,” Mr. Ferguson said. “However, to take on such a challenge requires continued merchant and mobile carrier network growth, which is where the funding will be used.”

Last October, Zong launched Zong+, an online mobile payments platform that combined carrier billing with credit, debit and prepaid cards.

Consumers can make online purchases via their mobile phone and link any type of payment card to their Zong account through a one-time entry process.

This allows the consumer to continue buying goods and services by entering their mobile number and confirming the security transaction code sent to their phone (see story).

Payment services
In addition, Zong provides its mobile payment service to IAC/Mindspark’s online avatar site Zwinky.

Consumers who are using the site are able to pay for virtual currency by using their handsets (see story).

“Zong is already raising the standard of mobile payments by offering a seamless and frictionless consumer experience,” Mr. Ferguson said. “Zong is available in over 30 countries, on 120-plus direct carrier connections, to 1.5 billion users worldwide.

“Additionally, Zong is the only mobile payments service that combines carrier billing with credit, debit and prepaid cards, allowing Zong to be the first company to allow multiple payment options via the mobile phone,” he said.