Bango cashing in on Cambridge cachet
Cambridge’s heightened reputation as a global cradle of technology innovation is helping mobile commerce business Bango recruit world-class talent from the US, Asia, Africa and Europe as it edges ever closer to profitability.
Bango’s mobile payments platform is helping international giants such as Amazon and Google increase revenue from download content on an unprecedented scale in ever-expanding territories.
Bango CEO Ray Anderson said the company had extremely close ties with what he calls “these technology Goliaths” both at the mother ship in Cambridge and in Seattle and Silicon Valley.
He said that the Cambridge cachet was not only a key to the strengthened relationships but also the main reason why the company had been able to add such high quality talent to the team working on its game-changing payments platform.
“A technologist anywhere in the world looking for a rewarding career might once have looked no further than Silicon Valley. Now they can come to Cambridge to achieve their ambitions and we are witnessing that first hand,” he told me.
“We are not out to add to headcount just for the sake of it; we are in the business of only recruiting the top talent and we are achieving that by attracting some brilliant people from around the world.
“The transformation of Cambridge’s reputation as a global capital of technology innovation is now very real and playing a major part in our international growth strategy.”
Legacy territories which Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Samsung and other Bango clients cracked some years ago are now ripe for additional paid for content and Bango’s platform is providing the means to collect the revenue. Its finely-tuned technology is therefore following the dynamic strategies of these mega-players.
Anderson says there is plenty of headroom in the platform to garner further growth and major clients are well aware of this capability. “We are very close to these Goliaths; we regularly have people from Amazon visiting us and we have a base in Seattle where Amazon has its global headquarters.
“We are just 46 minutes away by fast train from Google’s London flagship operation and we have another base in Silicon Valley from where we can stay in close touch with Google’s California operations.”
Analysts reacted positively to Bango’s final results for the year to December 31 which showed a 62 per cent hike in revenue to £4.2 million and yet another doubling of End User Spend – up 105 per cent to £271.4m.
Operational costs were tightly controlled and Bango had cash of £4.8m at year-end - a slight cash burn from the prior year but ample to see the company through to profitability according to chief financial officer Rachel Elias-Jones.
She said the EUS run rate exiting February 2018 was £465m/year and that Bango was on track to double End User Spend in 2018.
“The Bango platform will comfortably handle at least a doubling of EUS at current stable cost levels, with a strong pipeline of new relationships and upgrade opportunities with existing partners,” she said.
The Bango platform was tested to a capacity of over £5 billion worth of transactions a year in mid-2017, a stable cost base which underpins Bango’s own growth proposition.
In the year under review, Amazon launched Direct Carrier Billing (DCB) for retail goods to customers in Japan using the Bango platform, demonstrating its ability to handle the complete ‘shopping cart’ experience, including multi-part ordering, billing and fulfilment, and partial refund.
And in terms of payment diversity, the Bango platform proved its flexibility to handle alternative payment methods beyond DCB, launching new mobile money wallets in 2017, including the 9mobile wallet in Africa.
Three mobile operators upgraded their Google Play routes from legacy bi-lateral (direct) connections to the Bango platform, and benefited from enhanced performance, higher sales and improved data insights.
Many product enhancements were launched in 2017, including unique comparative benchmarking in Bango Boost, and new capabilities to support IoT usage and bundled pricing.
Bango expects growth from DCB for Amazon physical goods in Japan, resale and bundling for Amazon Prime in India and beyond, continued growth for Google Play and from new merchants worldwide.
The company also flags up the data monetisation opportunity: Bango is deepening customer relationships and opening new revenue streams by providing further ways to monetise data from mobile operators and the Bango platform and using the Audiens technology acquired in January 2018 to leverage the opportunity.
Ray Anderson added: “The Bango platform enables leading merchants across the world to grow their sales faster by opening up payments to more users and by using the unique data that only Bango can provide.
“Sales through the Bango Platform more than doubled in 2017, while the core operating costs remained stable. Bango added new customers, new payment routes and continual enhancements to the Bango Platform, developing and investing in new technology, providing more opportunities for Bango customers to expand and diversify their businesses.
“Growth with existing routes and substantial opportunities in the sales pipeline make Bango confident in continued substantial EUS and revenue growth in the coming year.”
• PHOTOGRAPH SHOWS: Ray Anderson