By Leena Rao
In its second acquisition in two weeks, eBay’s (NASDAQ:EBAY) PayPal unit has bought mobile payments startup FigCard. Terms of the acquisition, which was announced on the PayPal blog, were not disclosed.
Boston-based Fig Card allows merchants to accept mobile payments in stores by using a simple USB device that plugs into the cash register or point-of-sale terminal. All the consumer needs is the Fig app on his or her smart phone. The connection with PayPal is that when consumers set up their payment information, they could add PayPal as a payments option. You can see the video below for a demo of Fig Card’s technology
This is also as much of a talent acquisition as it is a technology buy. The founders, Max Metral and Hasty Granbery (who will both join the PayPal Mobile team) are both seasoned technology execs. Prior to founding Fig, Metral was co-founder and CTO of Firefly, which was sold to Microsoft. He also went on to architect sign-on system Microsoft Passport. Metral and Granbery met at PeoplePC, which was sold to Earthlink. And so and so forth.
Clearly mobile and online to offline is a big part of eBay’s strategy both for its marketplace and PayPal business. The company just bought location and advertising company Where, which will be housed within PayPal. In fact, PayPal will be integrated into Where’s mobile app as a payments mechanism for its local deals.
It should be interesting to see how (and if) PayPal integrates Fig Card into its products. We know that the payments service is looking to connect with local merchants and bringing them a PayPal-focused point of sale system could help them compete with emerging technologies like NFC, Square and others.