GlobeSet Inc., one of a new breed of virtual payment system companies, looks more and more grounded in reality after a $15.5 million capital infusion.
The Austin, Tex.-based specialist in SET software for on-line credit card payments reported completion last week of its second round of funding, led by the venture investment arms of Chase Manhattan Corp. and Bankers Trust Corp.
Given that GlobeSet already had Bankers Trust in its corner-founded in 1994, it got early funding from the BT Ventures subsidiary-an additional money-center institution enhances prestige and credibility. The Chase private equity unit, Chase Capital Partners, has $6 billion under management and has been actively pursuing Internet and electronic commerce opportunities.
A few weeks earlier, Trintech Group of Ireland and California, another leader in SET systems, closed a $20 million investment round, largely from Silicon Valley sources. GlobeSet's announcement reinforced the impression left by Trintech that security is seen as a missing link in e-commerce, and some smart money is betting that the gap is ready to be closed.
Trintech and GlobeSet indicate the stakes could be on the way up, despite bank and merchant slowness to jump on the SET bandwagon. The known quantities in their young market include International Business Machines Corp. and Hewlett-Packard Co.; the latter's Verifone subsidiary has considerable depth of Internet transaction experience.
Microsoft Corp. may also be an emerging factor. A strategic ally of HP and Verifone, Microsoft recently applied to SET Secure Electronic Transaction LLC, known as SETCo, for certification of a digital wallet that competes against those from GlobeSet and Trintech that have passed the compliance tests.
GlobeSet last month became the first company to have all four SET components certified: its Wallet, POS, CA, and Gateway.
Speaking for SETCo, Visa International senior vice president Steve Herz said such a milestone is "integral to the successful adoption of SET in the worldwide electronic commerce market."
Besides putting money into GlobeSet, the heavy-hitting lead investors are taking seats on the payment security company's board. Both go to vice chairmen: George J. Vojta of Bankers Trust and Joseph G. Sponholz of Chase Manhattan.
Statements by them were not just about long-term investment plays. They said GlobeSet is advancing an industry and a cause.
"Working in conjunction with the global banking community, GlobeSet and innovative companies like it will help us meet our goal of transforming traditional commerce practices into electronic commerce solutions for the future," Mr. Sponholz said.
Mr. Vojta said "GlobeSet is an interoperability leader and Bankers Trust believes it is in the interest of all financial institutions to do whatever we can to foster interoperability in the global banking community."
"We are, without question, extremely pleased and fortunate to have veterans of this caliber join our board," said GlobeSet chairman and chief executive officer Michael K. Cation, a computer scientist and former Bankers Trust vice president.