Tech Innovators 2013: Paythru

Anyone visiting the Jamie Oliver empire of restaurants may have used Paythru technology to settle the bill - and now the Buckinghamshire-based company has its eye on new contracts.

To follow on from our maiden Tech Invest event, we’ve profiled some of the most exciting technology companies in the UK.

GrowthBusiness has now produced a new 2014 version of Tech Innovators, where we have again profiled some of the best technology ventures in the UK through interviews with founding entrepreneurs.



Based in: Buckinghamshire

Founded in: 2007

No. of employees: 20

Company founder: Keith Brown


Founder profile:

Keith Brown is the founder of Paythru. Prior to his current role, he set up and ran KBA Marketing, a successful business in financial services marketing, for 15 years.

Background business profile:

Paythru is a cloud-based m-commerce payment and marketing platform that transforms the consumer’s mobile device into a personal, mobile POS payments device that works on all mobile devices and networks, with any bank, anywhere in the world. Paythru focuses on moving offline transactions to the mobile, online channel.

Inside track:

Fighting its way through the noise that currently exists in the mobile payment space has been the chief concern of Paythru and founder Keith Brown.

‘Lots of markets start with lots of entrants, then they consolidate,’ Brown explains. ‘The problem is that when there is that much noise, people you want to use your product don’t invest as they don’t know which one will win.’

With the consumer very much dictating terms and directing innovation, the way smartphones have developed is very much dragging along merchants kicking and screaming, as Brown puts it.

Selling the Paythru system to merchants has been a case of making sure that the digital spend is traceable, he says.

Paythru has already launched in South Africa and has a fairly established presence there through collaborations with the likes of Groupon. Turkey has also recently been entered – quite a significant milestone for the business Brown says.

Partnering with Mudo – the Turkish equivalent of John Lewis – Paythru has developed a mobile shopping app which helps consumers there avoid the queues which were leading to a big drop in revenue.

The angel funding that the mobile payments offering has netted can be traced back to an appearance at Mobile World Congress where it was the only start-up on show which was providing its kind of platform. ‘The event gave us three or four very good leads,’ Brown admits.

‘Our chairman is the biggest investor and has taken four or five companies to AIM, so knows how to grow technology companies.

‘One of our non-executives ran OpenText, and retired recently, but has great tech experience and understanding of the market.’

Recent milestones:

  • Launching in-store checkout in Turkey (Mudo)
  • Implementation of multi-channel and multi-payment types
  • Launching payD, an authentication system, in South Africa
  • Jamie Oliver: pay@table and e-vouchers

Upcoming milestones:

  • Launching in Iberia
  • Contextual Marketing – UK and Germany in 2013
  • Housing association/local government – dealing with the impact
  • Universal Credit

Recent technology:

PayD is a payment system that allows debit and credit card transactions to be authenticated by entering the bank PIN into the mobile device.

The user’s mobile handset becomes a POS terminal to authenticate transactions, thereby opening up the digital marketplace to millions that were previously precluded and offering merchants low-cost acquiring with non-repudiation.


  • Cybersource
  • Match2blue
  • Parkeon
  • Assist-Mi
  • Ringco (South Africa)
  • Mirasis/Shopamani (Turkey)


  • 32 angel investors – in excess of £3.5 million since September 2009
  • Paul Fullagar (chairman)
  • John Shackleton (non-executive director)

See also: 25 of the most exciting fast growing technology companies in the UK

Hunter Ruthven

Hunter Ruthven

Hunter was the Editor for from 2012 to 2014, before moving on to Caspian Media Ltd to be Editor of Real Business.

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