Silicon Valley Heavyweights Back New Mobile Payment Venture

July 1, 2013

A new mobile payment venture called Clinkle launched late last week with few details, but with $25 million in seed capital from some of the most famous names in venture capital and high-tech. Clinkle, the brainchild of 22-year-old Stanford grad Lucas Duplan, nabbed backing from Silicon Valley vets including Marc Andreesen, Peter Theil, Andrew Viterbi and others. The company has not officially announced the technology behind its mobile payment solution, but reports indicate both consumers and merchants simply download an app and the technology enables app-to-app transactions without requiring the merchants to add any hardware.

Echoing the early efforts of another student entrepreneur (albeit on the opposite coast), Clinkle’s go-to-market strategy initially will target college students and the businesses that serve them on and off campus.

“We’ve been building something that’s fundamentally different from everything else out there, and we’re excited to share our breakthrough with university students across America this upcoming year,” Duplan wrote in the first post on the company’s blog on Thursday.

Given the stature of Clinkle’s investors, the hoopla accompanying the company’s launch is understandable—some very successful people are betting on the company. But, given the disappointing results produced so far by other mobile wallet ventures, the road ahead will be challenging. Duplan, however, believes consumers eventually will come around to the transformative power of mobile payments.

“The exchange of value is one of humanity’s most important inventions,” he wrote. “But somehow, the way in which we transact hasn’t significantly changed in decades. Instead, it’s stood idle during the invention of the PC, the Internet and the smartphone. In fact, most people around the world still rely on the same technology humans used centuries ago: paper and coins. So we’ve decided to do something about it.”