Mobile Money Summit: Interview with Obopay’s Carol L. Realini

If you’ve been reading IntoMobile carefully, you know about Obopay. They are a mobile payment service provider that got its funding from such companies as Citibank and Nokia Ventures. That fact by itself should be a reason enough to think they’re onto something. At the Mobile Money Summit, I had an opportunity to sit with Obopay’s CEO and founder – Carol L. Realini.

Carol L. Realini - Obopay CEORight from the bat, I could see she’s an extraordinary person. Obopay is her 4th company, and her previous one was in providing technology solutions to financial services companies. Carol said that she was inspired to create Obopay when she was in Africa in a mobile phone store, where she saw how people pay for their pre-paid mobile phone service. At that time, the future founder of Obopay was working for an NGO, supporting entrepreneurs.

Here’s the recap of what I’ve learned from talking with her:

  • She emphasized Obopay’s deal with MasterCard that will allows them to reach more banks and financial institutions faster.
  • Obopay sees mobile payments as something that needs to work across multiple carriers, to be accessible to all mobile phone users, whether they’re unbanked or no.
  • Obopay works with regulators in markets where it conducts business to get all needed licenses. Their solution/service/”the way they operate” is adaptable to all regulatory environments, strict or not.
  • They want to work on all platforms, not just mobile – she mentioned they’re working to bring Obopay to social networks. iPhone app is coming this summer and Android till the end of the year.
  • Every Obopay user has the same user interface for making and managing his or her mobile payments.
  • Obopay has about 200 employees of which about the half is in the U.S. and the other half is in India. The plan is to expand to Western Europe and Africa later in the year.
  • In U.S., AT&T and Verizon Wireless are distributing Obopay’s app. In India, they have a “tighter marketing relationship” with Loop and Aircell.

And that’s about all I caught from Carol. She is an inspiring woman and her company is certainly worth watching for. And that’s what we at IntoMobile will keep doing, have no doubts about it…

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