Mobile commerce firm ROAM eyes 50 hires, overtaking Square

Posted: Aug 12, 2013

Mobile commerce firm ROAM eyes 50 hires, overtaking Square

Kyle Alspach
VC Editor-Boston Business Journal
August 12, 2013

Boston-based ROAM, which provides card readers and associated technology to power mobile commerce, is “projecting that we have a shot at surpassing Square in the next year or two,” CEO Ken Paull said in an interview.

The company has shipped roughly 2 million systems in the past four years, but we “don’t have a brand like Square does,” he said.

That’s because the company’s technology is customized and branded for reseller partners, who are the ones that actually provide the product to retailers, Paull said. Among the firm’s resellers are Vantiv, iPayment and Groupon.

The company has annual revenue “in the tens of millions” for the past two years, now employs 100 in Boston and has 50 open jobs, Paull said

“We’re a well-kept secret,” he said.

The firm offers card readers, mobile applications, management and development tools and professional services for customizing the technology for customers.

Merchants use the technology to accept credit card payments on smart phones and tablets.

The company’s offering differs from others such as Square because it provides everything a merchant needs to participate in mobile commerce, Paull said. “Almost no one has that whole spectrum of components,” he said. “We have a set of competitors on the hardware and on the software side and on the platform/gateway side, but there’s not really anyone who is able to put all those pieces together … And everything is branded so it’s unique to each re-seller.”

The technology also differentiates in being able to add features for each certain customer’s needs, Paull said.

For example, “for someone in the home services space that’s going out to someone’s home, you don’t just want to take payment, you want to do order management, and you want to get a customer to sign off on the order,” he said.

ROAM believes it may be able to overtake Square in terms of the number of readers it has in merchants’ hands in coming years as a result of its differentiators, Paull said

The firm earns revenue from either monthly fees or transaction fees, as well as fees for customizing the technology.

Founded in 2004, ROAM has been majority-owned by French payment solutions firm Ingenico for the past year-and-a-half, Paull said. Ingenico’s $35 million investment at the time into ROAM gave the firm a 75 percent stake, he said.

ROAM’s headquarters is on Summer Street in Fort Point, where the company is looking to hire its 50 positions in technical-related functions including engineers and project managers, Paull said.


Courtesy | ROAM

Courtesy | ROAM

ROAM projects it could overtake Square on the number of card readers shipped in coming years.