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Coda Payments has raised $690 million in funding to enable cross-border payments for games and other digital products, as well as alternative app stores. While the funding amount is impressive, no money will go to the company as existing longtime shareholders are selling their stakes to the new investors.
Smash Capital, Insight Partners, and GIC invested funds to acquire a minority stake in the Singapore-based company as it expands to more territories. Bloomberg reported the valuation of the company was $2.5 billion. And while it’s a secondary recapitalization, it shows that investors still have confidence in Coda Payments as it grows bigger.
Apis Partners and all of the company’s other existing shareholders retain equity positions in Coda moving forward.
“We wanted to bring on board some new investors with expertise to help support the company in its its next phase of growth,” said Neil Davidson, executive chairman and cofounder of Coda Payments, in an interview with GamesBeat. “We’ve had an interesting journey as a company. We achieved profitability relatively early in our history. And as a result, we haven’t really been on that cycle of new funding announcements every 18 months, with fresh investors kind of coming in.”
He added, “Given our ambitions have so dramatically increased over the last few years, as we’ve, we really wanted to bring on board some new investors who have experience shepherding companies through the growth stage. And so that’s what led us to go out and find these new investors.”
Codashop bills itself as a trusted source of in-game currencies and other premium content for millions of consumers in more than 50 territories worldwide. And it says it is the only independent content marketplace with a global footprint.
Through Codashop, developers and publishers make it easier for their customers to access the content they love by allowing them to choose from more than 300 convenient payment methods. Coda also operates Codapay, which publishers use to accept the same range of payment methods available on Codashop on their own websites, and Codacash, a closed-loop e-wallet that offers loyalty rewards to customers.
Codashop’s first market was Indonesia. Now it operates in about 50 markets, starting in Southeast Asia and expanding into place like South Asia, the Middle East, Latin America, and since September, Europe. Many of the markets where it operates are emerging markets.
To make a purchase in Codashop, you submit your player ID for a game. Then you choose the denomination of virtual currency that you want to purchase and then it is instantly added into the app. The shop is connected directly to the API for the game so that the delivery can be instant. Instead of taking a 30% commission as the traditional app stores do, Codashop takes 15%.
You can pay for the purchase with any of 300 alternative payment systems, like Venmo or the Cash App. Right now, on iOS, Codashop is not allowed to sell apps that are in the App Store already. But it can sell virtual currency that you can assign to your account in a variety of app stores. And people are willingly doing this for the convenience of paying with a local payment system on their phones or to get access to special marketing deals, Davidson said.
“Our focus historically, and at least in the near term, is continuing to take advantage of the opportunities that are available to us under the current environment,” Davidson said. “We focus on monetizing the value chain, not app distribution.”
Alternative stores are becoming more intriguing to game companies thanks to a ruling by a federal judge in the Epic Games vs. Apple antitrust lawsuit. While Epic lost most of its claims (the case is under appeal), the judge ruled in the Fortnite developer’s favor in saying that Apple could not prohibit developers in its iOS app store from promoting deals off the store. That, in turn, has raised the prospects for alternative app stores on mobile devices.
Publishers and developers work with Coda to generate new revenues, reduce their monetization costs, and reach new paying audiences. Backed by a secure and reliable payments infrastructure and offering a seamless user experience, Codashop allows customers to select from a wide range of popular payment methods and enjoy exclusive deals.
For publishers, Coda also acts as a trusted go-to-market partner, ensuring compliance with local regulations and tax requirements, providing market insights, offering tailored marketing support, and providing 24/7 customer care. The Coda vision is to be the platform of choice for taking life’s digital experiences over the top.
While the Apple ruling drew attention to the option for alternative app stores, nothing has changed yet with Apple as the order has been stayed until further litigation. Some regulators around the world are likely to race ahead of the U.S. antitrust appeals court ruling in the Epic vs. Apple case, and that may mean it could get complicated around the world to comply with the rules.
“Customers are very likely to find the payment method that they prefer on on the site. So that’s a big driver. Another is the user experience. So it turns out that for people for whom in-app billing works well, it’s a great option. But for a lot of Codashop shop customers there is some things about the user experience for in-app billing that is inconvenient, like remembering your user name and password linked to an email address.”
The company has more than 500 people. Davidson said Codashop hopes to help both publishers and new users with game discovery through its store, as the mobile game industry has become extremely cutthroat. As game companies deal with Apple’s push toward privacy over targeted ads, this kind of discovery will become more important.
“We’ve got a really huge opportunity here. That is going to unfold over the course of the next few years,” said Davidson. “And they wanted to participate in that in that story. And I think the validation comes from our track record. We really have grown incredibly fast in the last few years. I think that has given our new investors confidence that we’ve tapped into a real trend here.”
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