St. John’s-based Oliver POS, which offers digital payment solutions to retailers, has raised $3.2 million from European angels, an impressive seed round for a company that is only two years old.
The company has developed a Software-as-a-Service product that enhances retailers’ point-of-sale, or POS, capabilities. Its sales – which now extend into 70 countries – have surged with the global wave of merchant technology digitalization amidst the global pandemic.
According to Startup Genome, the median seed investment in Atlantic Canada is US$674,000, or C$915,000. Oliver POS said in a statement its significant investment round positions the company as one of the best-funded technology startups at its stage in the region.
“The Covid-19 crisis has accelerated the need for retail digitalization beyond the original scope of ecommerce,” Founder and CEO Mathias Nielsen said in a statement. “For SMEs, multichannel frictionless payments are not only about convenience but survival.”
The company did not reveal its investors, but Nielsen said in an interview they are angels based in Europe. The company in May won Propel’s Gerry Pond Award for sales prowess, which includes a $25,000 cash prize and the option of $30,000 in investment from Innovacorp and New Brunswick Innovation Foundation. Nielsen said Oliver POS declined the $30,000 investment because “it wasn’t necessary” given the round he was negotiating with the European angels.
“It’s kind of funny because I’ve never met some of the investors in person,” he said when asked his experience in raising capital in the current environment. “I knew what kind of investor I wanted and I wanted strategic investors. A lot of our business is in Europe so I wanted someone who could create a base there for us.”
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Nielsen founded the company in 2018 after experiencing firsthand the limitations of POS solutions as a store owner. He intends to use the funds to further develop its technology and continue its fast growth with new services and partnerships.
Oliver POS gives bricks-and-mortar retail workers access to information about customers’ online shopping and browsing activity to help them sell more effectively. The company’s business model is to identify shoppers using information such as their email address – which they may provide to staff during the checkout process – and display information about their social media activity, advertisements they’ve viewed and tech-support requests they’ve filed, among other metrics.
The company now has 28 employees and Nielsen believes that number will rise to 60 by the end of the year. About 40 percent of the staff is a development team based in India, and the growing business development team is concentrated at the headquarters in St. John’s.
Oliver POS is increasing its international partnerships with major processors and web-hosting companies, and Nielsen said the business development team is under pressure to increase its capacity to meet the needs of these partnerships. The new funding will help with the scaling.
“Atlantic Canada’s fintech industry has seen significant growth in the last years,” Alicia Roisman Ismach, fintech expert and Entrepreneur-in-Residence at Venn Innovation, said in the company’s press release. “With the newly announced seed round, Oliver POS is setting a new standard for early-stage fintech startups in our region.”