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Wayra startup Yoyo raises $10m and eyes US market

Mobile wallet provider Yoyo has completed a $10m Series A round led by the British investment firm Imperial Innovations.

The company, which combines payments, loyalty and store discovery, is already live in 15 universities in the UK and says it is now handling 150,000 transactions every month.

It will use the money to consolidate its efforts in the UK, as well as launching with a number of US universities in the second half of this year. The company is also whitelabeling its software for use by retailers.

Yoyo was founded in 2013 and joined Telefónica’s Wayra accelerator in May last year. Users have to use a credit or debit card to top-up the app in order to get started, or turn on auto top-up, after which they present their phone at the till of participating retailers, where a one-off QR code is scanned and payment deducted.

With wallet providers like US telco-backed Softcard, US retailer-backed CurrentC, plus Apple and Google’s platforms, this is certainly not a battle for the faint-hearted, particularly in across the pond.

“The payment space is not crowded, it’s noisy,” the company says. “If it were crowded you would be using mobile payments already.”

Phillip Riese, former president of American Express Consumer Card Services, also joins the Yoyo board.