The race is on in Japan to see what startup can become the leader in online payments and Line Pay just improved its chances. In a statement this morning, the payment focused subsidiary of the messaging giant announced its acquisition of WebPay. The startup would have turned two years old in May, but instead will have to be content with an exit via acquisition. Terms were not disclosed.
For the past year WebPay was looking like a company on the rise. It had some stalwart clients in the startup scene like Freee, Wantedly, and Whill and had received JPY 110 million (US$927,000) in a round led by CyberAgent Ventures. That funding came nearly a year after GMO Payment Gateway put an undisclosed amount of money into the company.
With early funding from two internet giants, it is a bit unexpected for WebPay to join the Line brigade. From Line Pay’s perspective, however, this deal makes plenty of sense. Online payment platforms like Spike or Base’s new pay.jp are scooping up startups and other modestly scaled companies looking to do ecommerce online. Line Pay does offer payment support for shops which open on Line Mall, but this acquisition gives the company battle-tested staff familiar with the challenges of adding shops as users.
We have reached out to both parties for further comment and will update this post when we hear back.
Update: A Line spokesperson told us that the entire WebPay team, from management on down, will be integrated into Line Pay. They declined to confirm how many employees are currently in the Line Pay team. They also mentioned that Line Pay has already gained dozens of large stores as participating clients and will announce the full line-up later in the first half of this year.