Mobile Payments Company Payvia Acquires LA-Based Mogreet

Payvia has acquired Mogreet, creating what is likely the largest mobile company in Los Angeles with nearly 150 total employees. The mobile payments and messaging company, which was used to great effect by President Barack Obama’s 2012 re-election campaign team, acquired Mogreet to help close the loop between mobile marketing messaging and direct transactions.

Payvia’s direct billing deals with carriers combined with Mogreet’s CRM and messaging platforms for brands will give marketers a unique ability to drive transactions through text- and video-based messaging campaigns. Mogreet’s video and rich messaging platform is now being integrated with Payvia’s mobile payments platform, and some major customer announcements are expected in the coming weeks.

“You can drive a consumer through our platform, give them the best video, maybe drive them in store, but what if you want to actually drive an immediate transaction?” James Citron, founder and chief executive of Mogreet, tells ClickZ.

“No matter the hundreds of millions of incredible videos that we’re sending out as multimedia messages, if we want to provide an instant transaction to any of our merchants, the easiest way to do that is through a text message. And with Payvia we can complete that transaction in seconds.”

The talks with Payvia began as a partnership discussion but quickly evolved into an all-out acquisition once the two companies gathered feedback from their customers, Citron says.

“They get the ability to have the CRM capabilities and thousands of customers who are using us for all their marketing and communications. And for us, we can turn to all of our customers and tell them that they can ‘instantly start monetizing and driving m-commerce revenue through all their messaging,” says Citron, who becomes Payvia’s chief marketing officer.

Despite all the chatter and hype surrounding over-the-top messaging services of late, Citron describes how Payvia’s acquisition of Mogreet reinforces the strength and importance of carrier-supported commerce and messaging.

“If you’re a brand, you can not afford to work with a service that’s only going to reach a small fraction of your customers. And separate from that, you can’t afford typically to go work with 15 different service providers just to reach your customer on a mobile device. The biggest and the most strategic marketers go, 'I need to go with a platform that’s going to enable me to reach my customer on a mobile device regardless of what app they’re using, regardless of what handset and carrier they have,’” he says.

"While I think some of the over-the-top services are cannibalizing peer-to-peer messaging, they’re not cannibalizing any of the brand-to-consumer or the application provider consumer messaging. That business is growing tremendously and I think no matter how successful these over-the-top apps are, at the core the average app only has a few week shelf life on a consumer’s device. Text messaging is still used by 90-plus percent of consumers every single week, versus the most popular app in the world, Facebook, is using a small fraction of the amount of time that text messaging is by the overall population,” Citron adds.

Terms of the deal are still being kept under wraps but Citron emphasizes that it’s a great transaction for the company he founded in 2006 and helped raise $14 million in funding over that seven-year span.

"I couldn’t be more excited because when I started the company I hoped to do a few things. I hoped to create a product that no one had ever created. We did that, we built the best MMS platform and the only one that’s achieved truly transformational scale in the industry. We do about two-thirds of all short code based MMS in the country,” Citron says.

"Whenever you start a start-up, you want to be able to deliver a great return to all your investors, everyone who’s believed in you, and your team and give them a bigger platform to succeed. And this does that. Our combined company has scale that’s unmatched in our industry,” he adds.

According to Citron, the newly formed company will have more messaging throughout, meaning Payvia can send out more text messages at higher speeds than anyone in North America. “We have a true global presence now and we have mobile commerce capabilities. For me, it’s the most exciting thing. We accomplished well beyond what we had humbly scratched together on a white board several years ago, and we have an opportunity together as a combined company to do something incredibly remarkable,” Citron concludes.

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