NFC specialist Tapit to raise US$8m for international expansion

The fast growing Sydney-based start-up already counts Coca Cola, RIM, Johnson & Johnson and Unilever amongst its clients and has just implemented a major new project for Australian carrier Telstra.

Telstra MOG smart poster
MUSIC PUSH: Tapit is managing 347 panels for Telstra’s first NFC ad campaign

Sydney-based NFC advertising specialist Tapit, formed in 2011 with an initial A$900,000 (US$919,000) in funding and grants, has begun the process of raising Series A funding to fuel further expansion.

The company’s clients already include a host of global brands, including Coca Cola, RIM, Johnson & Johnson, Unilever and Vodafone. Most of Tapit’s work to date has been in Australia and Singapore, Tapit’s CEO and co-founder Jamie Conyngham has told NFC World, but international projects are also now scheduled for the UK, Portugal, Dubai and Vietnam.

“Our plan is to raise US$8m for international expansion with a focus on Asia,” Conyngham explains. “In addition we will be growing our tech and product teams to continue innovating and leading the NFC engagement space.”

“Just about all of our fixed and campaign based clients use QR and NFC side by side, both going through the Tapit servers,” Conyngham says. “So we get to compare like for like. Some of our clients are achieving up to 25% NFC interaction versus 75% QR interaction in the Tapit ecosystem… This is amazing as NFC penetration is estimated at only 3% to 5% of phones whereas QR capable phones are at about 50%.

“We have seen similar figures for our NFC ecosystem in Singapore. Clearly, people with NFC handsets are using them for mobile engagement versus those with only QR capable handsets. This validates our whole idea that the simpler you make something the more people are likely to use it and NFC is simpler than QR.”

Tapit is currently managing Australian mobile network operator Telstra’s first NFC advertising campaign. 347 advertising panels in Sydney and Melbourne, operated by out-of-home media giant JCDecaux, have been equipped with NFC tags to allow consumers to tap their NFC phones to get a free trial of MOG, Telstra’s new music platform.

The company is also working with 250 cafés, bars, pubs and restaurants in the suburbs around Sydney. “Initially this was with Facebook Like and Twitter Follow,” says Conyngham. “So if you like the joint you just tap on your way out and instantly like or follow. Phase two is contact details, so you can just walk past, tap and get the takeaway pizza place number for example. Phase two also includes ‘download our menu’ and check in stickers.”

Other projects include an NFC and QR code-based walking tour of Sydney’s historic Rocks district, a promotion for the Allphones Arena, a scratch card game for SA Lotteries, a waste recycling project and an out-of-home advertising network managed by Clear Channel in Singapore.

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