Michigan-based Stratos raises $5.8M for Bluetooth payment platform
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The Bluetooth payment platform that Stratos has secured $5.8 million in funding for is “a groundbreaking card that will simplify consumers’ lives.”

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It was announced on Thursday that Stratos, a Bluetooth payment platform based out of Ann Arbor, Michigan, secured $5.8M in its first round of funding.

Founded in 2012 by Thiago Olson, Chris Bartenstein and Henry Balanon, the company supplies a platform for anyone that has too many plastic cards in their wallet — we’ve all been there — and wants to streamline their payment options into one single, smart, dynamic card. For any of us who’ve stood at the counter in a store for what seems like forever, fishing through stacks of plastic trying to find the card we want to use, this might sound pretty appealing.

A sexy idea, but hard to implement

Though an ingenious idea, Stratos is not the first all-in-one card platform of its kind. Others have taken a stab at solving the problem of too much plastic in your wallet including Coin, which faced mixed reviews after a successful Kickstarter campaign but a delay in the official rollout of the product. In addition to the delay, Coin faces problems such as an upfront fee (which was reduced by half during the initial launch) of $100 and card operation that requires a non-rechargeable battery that only lasts for about two years.

It remains to be seen whether or not Stratos can build on the mistakes of Coin, and offer up a better product, but they’ve certainly managed to grab the attention of investors.

The funding will come from Toba Capital Partners, a venture firm investing in business applications, IT, and internet infrastructure markets; Western Technology Investment, which provides capital to technology and life science companies ranging from early-stage private companies to publicly-traded companies; Resonant Venture Partners, an emerging venture capital firm located in Ann Arbor, Michigan; and Hyde Park Venture Partners, a capital fund that invests in early stage technology companies in the Midwest.

“Thiago is one of those rare founders who has the unique balance of both deep technical prowess and consumer insight,” said Jason Townsend, managing director of Resonant Venture Partners, in a statement.

Simplifying lives

“We are in production to deliver a groundbreaking card that will simplify consumers’ lives,” explained Stratos CEO Thiago Olson. “This funding has allowed us to accelerate and scale our recruiting, manufacturing and customer support. Our vision is to build long-term relationships with our card members by continuously delivering innovative payment solutions that will always be convenient, reliable and secure.”

With the recent funding, the Stratos team will come closer to realizing the vision they want to give to the world — empowering people to make better, more informed payment decisions. The platform’s goal is to simplify transactions through a secure, familiar, universally accepted format. As their website reads, “It’s your world. One card holds it all.”

“Consumers want safer and more convenient ways to pay in all channels,” Olson asserted. “We hope to accelerate consumer adoption for mobile payments by making our platform frictionless with respect to merchant infrastructure. We are excited to be collaborating with the eco-system of technology companies, financial institutions, networks and merchants who share our vision.”

Michigan tech jobs are on the rise

Today high-tech, along with the state’s universities (including Ann Arbor’s University of Michigan) and automobile manufacturers, is one of the main contributors to Michigan’s economy. The state has increased the number of tech jobs significantly since the 2008 recession, with some crediting the high-tech sector for helping the state rebound economically. If the company’s venture proves successful it could be a huge nod to the tech industry in Ann Arbor, where the average startup is valued at $3.7M.

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Leilani Rose

About Leilani Rose


An accomplished and savvy writer with a background editing and developing both print and online content. Leilani is an artist at heart, with a passion for life and discovering unique
things in the world. “Yes” often leads to great adventures.

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