Report: Google Partner ViVOtech, Maker Of NFC Hardware, Software & Services, Is Shutting Down
ViVOtech, a near field communication (NFC) software and systems company, is shutting down operations due to cash-flow problems. This, despite having raised nearly $100 million in outside funding over the past decade. The company is planning to announce the news to employees later today via conference call, according to a report emerging today from NFC Times.
We tried to confirm the news this morning by calling offices in the U.K. and California, but no one was picking up the phone. Media relations representatives have not returned emails.
If true, that means ViVOtech has nothing left from the $96+ million it has raised from a lineup which included Singapore’s EDBI, SingTel Innov8, Motorola Solutions Venture Capital, Alloy Ventures, Citi Ventures (the venture arm of Citigroup), Draper Fisher Jurveston, DFJ Gotham, First Data Corporation, Miven Ventures, Motorola Mobility, Nokia Growth Partners and NCR. Even more interesting, the company just raised another round of financing in March of this year.
Founded in 2001, ViVOtech develops payment software and NFC products including smart posters, contactless readers and writers, over-the-air provisioning, and transaction management infrastructure software.
ViVOtech also partnered with Google on Google Wallet, the company’s push to become a player in mobile payments, which uses NFC technology.
The company is responsible for over half the NFC terminals found in big-name retailers like McDonald’s, Home Depot and Whole Foods as well as in taxi cabs. To date, it had shipped almost 1 million terminals worldwide. It also had over 80% U.S. market share for NFC readers, and reported sales in “double-digit millions,” back in 2011. It was even looking to IPO this year.
So what could have happened? NFCtimes’ sources say ViVOtech had “cash-flow” problems. It may have also been struggling with hitting the market early, before NFC technology really took off and became mainstream (if such a thing ever occurs, to be fair), and it also suffered setbacks when competitor VeriFone dropped the company as a supplier of readers, in favor of its own.
According to NFCtimes, ViVOtech is now in talks to sell its reader business to PAX Global Technology, the owner of Shenzhen, China-based PAX Technology, which also makes point-of-sale terminals. Vivotech’s software business, TSM and mobile wallet services and products, are also up for sale.