Emida Buys San Diego-based Quippi and Its Gift Card Business

Emida, an Orange County company that specializes in serving the global prepayment industry, said today it is acquiring Quippi, a San Diego startup that offers pre-paid gift cards in Mexico as a no-fee alternative to international money transfers.

Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Quippi founder Michael Aleles declined to even tell me how many employees Quippi has today (less than 10, according to LinkedIn; eight, according to CrunchBase), saying he is bound by a confidentiality agreement with Emida.

Quippi has raised at least $3 million since it was founded in 2012, including $2.2 million in a Series A round from San Diego-based Avalon Ventures and Accion, the New York microfinance lender.

As Xconomy reported early last year, Quippi began selling its gift cards in the last three months of 2013. Today, Quippi gift cards purchased in the U.S. can be used to buy merchandise at over 4,800 retail stores in Mexico, including stores operated by Coppel, Chedraui, Farmacias Benavides, Office Depot Mexico, Construrama, FarmaTodo, and Opticas Devlyn. (Under Quippi’s business model, consumers pay only the face value of the card, and Quippi is paid by the retailers to provide the cards.)

Emida, founded in 2001 and based in Foothill Ranch, CA, says it supports a network of more than 54,000 retail points of sale and processes more than 240 million payment transactions a year, with an annualized payment volume totaling more than $1.5 billion, according to the company’s website. Emida says its network technology enables the domestic and international distribution and transfer of many types of prepaid products, mobile money solutions, and payment services.

Emida has raised about $12.5 million from venture investors that include GRP Partners, Richard L. Scott Investments, Stone Canyon Venture Partners, and Upfront Ventures, according to CrunchBase.

In the statement released today, Emida says Quippi’s team will join Emida and all of Quippi’s business activities will immediately become part of Emida.  Customers will still be able to purchase Quippi’s gift cards at all existing Quippi channel partners as well as at www.quippi.com.

Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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