Estonian mobile payments startup Fortumo sold to Boku for $41 million

Fortumo, the mobile payments services provider, founded in Tartu, Estonia, has been acquired by the London Stock Exchange-listed mobile payments platform, Boku.

Fortumo was founded in Tartu in 2007 as a spin-off of the mobile services company, Mobi Solutions, by entrepreneurs Rain Rannu and Veljo Otsason. The company offers various mobile payment solutions for web services and mobile applications. Fortumo allows any merchant to set up payment processing for web and mobile services, games or apps. Users with a mobile phone are then able to make one-click payments without the need for a credit card – the payments are charged to their mobile operator’s bill instead.

Over the years, Fortumo has become one of the most successful Estonian startups. To enable global carrier billing for the merchants, Fortumo has partnered with 280 mobile operators across the world, in 80 different countries and its clients include Google, Amazon and Spotify. Fortumo’s turnover in 2019 was €164 million and the company made a €2 million profit.

Global expansion

In addition to its headquarters in Tartu, Fortumo has offices in India, Indonesia, Spain, Singapore and Vietnam and employs over 80 people from 15 different nationalities. According to the company, the acquisition will not affect its workforce.

“Joining the Boku group of companies is a great next step for the Fortumo team, which has built up a world-class, business critical technology platform used by some of the world’s leading digital merchants,” Martin Koppel, Fortumo’s CEO, said in a statement. “With a joint strategy, we will be able to better help merchants grow their presence across the world. This also represents a fundamental shift in the direct carrier billing market as the reach, complexity, quality and time-to-market for the solutions we build together will be unmatched.”

Martin Koppel.

Boku, headquartered in San Francisco, CA, was founded in the United Kingdom in 2003. It went public at the London Stock Exchange in 2017 with a valuation of £125 million.

Cover: Martin Koppel, Fortumo’s CEO, Rain Rannu, the main founder, and Gerri Kodres, the chief business officer, in 2014 at Fortumo’s head office in Tartu. Images courtesy of Fortumo.

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