Categories: Investments

Podium Lands $125M To Expand Contactless Payments Over Messaging

Customer messaging and relationship startup Podium has notched $125 million in a Series C funding round led by YC Continuity, the company announced on Tuesday (April 7).

Other investors included Sapphire Ventures, Alkeon Capital, Recruit Co., Ltd., IVP, Accel, Summit Partners and GV.

Podium has raised $92.6 million across four funding rounds since it was founded in 2014 by Dennis Steele and Eric Rea.

Headquartered in Lehi, Utah, the company offers a variety of messaging solutions that help local companies connect with their neighborhood customers. Originally launched to help businesses get prompt, genuine reviews, Podium now also supports mobile payments, webchat and customer messaging.

The platform is used by 45,000 businesses in the U.S., Canada and Australia, including SMBs with one location as well as big firms with thousands of locations.

"Over the past five years, we have seen the fundamental way consumers interact with a local business change," said Rea, co-founder and CEO. "This round of funding coincides with one of the largest events that has impacted and changed business in our lifetime. The digital transformation that was already taking place has been exponentially accelerated. We are putting this round to use to not only make this transition the most effective for these businesses during this period of time, but also to continue giving every local business the tools they need to grow and succeed moving into the future."

Podium is now offering Podium Starter, a free version of its platform that enables companies to connect with customers and process contactless payments over messaging. Contactless transactions that happen online are especially important now, as most of the world locks down and practices social distancing due to the coronavirus pandemic.

"YC and Podium have had a deep partnership ever since they were a part of our winter 2016 batch," said Ali Rowghani, CEO of YC Continuity. "Podium is unique in the fact that its market comprises almost every local business that we as consumers interact with on a daily basis. The company is modernizing the way we all reach out, interact, schedule, pay and give feedback to our local businesses. When we had the opportunity to take a larger role in the growth of Podium and the positive change they are creating for the local economy, we were thrilled to partner in such a substantive way."

Contactless payments started gaining traction in the mid-2000s, but there were rampant fears about security. That’s now changing as consumers are using smartphones enabled with Apple Pay, Google Pay and other offerings for contactless payments.

Get our hottest stories delivered to your inbox.

Sign up for the Newsletter to get updates on top stories and viral hits.



The How We Shop Report, a PYMNTS collaboration with PayPal, aims to understand how consumers of all ages and incomes are shifting to shopping and paying online in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. Our research builds on a series of studies conducted since March, surveying more than 16,000 consumers on how their shopping habits and payments preferences are changing as the crisis continues. This report focuses on our latest survey of 2,163 respondents and examines how their increased appetite for online commerce and digital touchless methods, such as QR codes, contactless cards and digital wallets, is poised to shape the post-pandemic economy.