US-based games maker SCVNGR has raised $9m in funding from T-Venture, the venture unit of Deutsche Telekom, for its mobile payment service LevelUp. It is the second tranche of a larger Series D round investment, and brings the total raised from the round to $21m. SCVNGR’s first close of the round in June raised $12m. Prior venture firm investors Balderton Capital, Highland Capital Partners, and Google’s venture arm Google Ventures were joined by newcomers Continental Advisors and media investor Transmedia Capital. Last year Scvngr raised $15m in its second round led by venture capital firm Balderton Capital and repeat investors Highland Capital Partners and Google Ventures. Google Ventures and Highland had provided $4m in December 2009. It is now valued at $172m, according to news provider Dow Jones VentureWire. SCVNGR plans to use the funding to spread LevelUp across the US, which is already available at 3,000 outlets. T-Venture senior investment manager Randeep Wilkhu will join LevelUp as an observer. Wilkhu said: “LevelUp is anticipating the next big industry disruption.T-Venture is confident that LevelUp’s Interchange Zero ecosystem will drive consumer adoption of mobile payments, as well as support the economic growth of the merchants by providing value beyond the transaction.” SCVNGR chief executive Seth Priebatsch said:”Having T-Venture on our side is tremendous affirmation of our Interchange Zero strategy.” He added: “We are incredibly excited to have such well-known industry leaders back us as we push toward becoming a truly meaningful company. We’re in the middle of a seismic shift in the economy, where paying for transactions is no longer the status quo, and merchants come to expect so much more value from their payment provider than just the basic movement of money.” LevelUp is one of many proposed methods of mobile payment technologies being rolled out. The app allows the user to link up a credit or debit card, which they can subsequently use to pay for goods through their smartphones. The mobile payment sector has seen many new innovations in the past few months, and there are rumours that Apple plans to enter the market with the launch of its iPhone 5. Square, already an established name in mobile-payments, was reportedly close to securing $200m in funding last week in a deal that would see it valued at $3.25bn.

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