CAMBRIDGE, Mass.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Leaf, creator of the LeafPresenterTM, a tablet specifically designed for commerce, today announced it has closed $20 million in its first round of institutional funding from Heartland Payment Systems (NYSE: HPY), one of the nation’s largest payments processors and a leading provider of merchant business solutions. The funding will accelerate Leaf’s mission to provide a unified, open commerce platform that redefines the way brick and mortar merchants operate. The Leaf platform enables integrated commerce solutions and gives merchants the ability to choose the business tools that best fit their needs. Leaf will use the funds to advance manufacturing capabilities of its proprietary, purpose-built tablet, the LeafPresenter, and expand its team of talented developers and employees to grow the LeafBusinessTM application and the Leaf AppstoreTM.
In addition to the investment, Heartland has also joined Leaf’s growing network of distribution partners with its national sales force of more than 800 relationship managers. In addition to its core card processing service, Heartland will be building an array of value-added apps on the Leaf platform – including payroll, and mobile and online ordering, among others.
“While discussing a major distribution deal with Heartland, it became clear that we have much deeper synergies than simply selling together. Heartland is spearheading a new wave of innovation across the industry that aligns with our mission of creating an open platform that empowers business owners to aggregate valuable services under one digital fingerprint,” said Aron Schwarzkopf, co-founder and CEO of Leaf. “Local merchants have very different needs, so enabling their success with new technology is all about giving them options to create an experience that’s most valuable for them and their customers. Our flexible platform lets merchants choose processing services from Heartland or any number of other providers, as well as vertical-specific POS applications from Leaf or any other player in the industry.”
By bundling Leaf with their core payment products, organizations like Heartland and others within the Leaf Membership Network can strengthen their relationships with merchants by delivering additional value-added business tools, while also benefiting from new revenue streams and more loyal customers. Early partners of the program have substantially increased new merchant acquisition.
“We look forward to working with Leaf and a consortium of service providers to advance how merchants gain advantage in this increasingly omni-channel world,” said Bob Carr, chairman and CEO of Heartland. “Leaf’s platform is truly open in the sense of allowing business owners the freedom to work with the payments and business solution providers that they deem best for their individual businesses. Leaf’s innovative approach represents a major paradigm shift in hospitality and retail technology – one that enables operators to affordably and quickly integrate and leverage exciting new technologies as they adapt to the ever-changing business landscape.”
The Leaf platform, which consists of the LeafPresenter tablet, LeafBusiness, and the Leaf Appstore, gives local merchants everything they need to run and grow their businesses.
The LeafPresenter is a tablet built specifically for business. Whereas many new payment technology companies have developed dongles that plug into smartphones and tablets, Leaf built a tablet to specifically address the needs and rigors of the business operating environment. With technology including a magnetic stripe card reader, near field communication (NFC), Europay MasterCard Visa (EMV), and front- and rear-facing cameras, the LeafPresenter is capable of accepting payments via traditional payment cards, gift cards, next-generation payment methods such as PayPal and LevelUp, and a number of mobile wallets. Leaf also allows merchants to work with the payment processor of their choice because of its neutral approach to payment acceptance.
LeafBusiness is a cloud-based business analytics and management portal that provides valuable insight for small business owners and helps them make sense out of their data. Designed to integrate with third-party applications and tools, it includes everything from employee management (e.g., time tracking, labor reports, etc.) to performance analytics, including the ability to cross-reference and sort sales by a wide variety of variables (e.g., specific items, categories, times of day, seasons, employees, etc.). Because it runs in the cloud, LeafBusiness functions in real time and is accessible from any device, so a business owner can stay up-to-date on their business at any time and anywhere.
The Leaf Appstore, currently in beta, is designed to supplement and extend Leaf’s core features. This fosters an ecosystem enabling the developer community to create new, innovative applications that run on the LeafPresenter, integrate with LeafBusiness, and assist merchants in better managing their businesses and engaging with customers. For example, developers can create customized apps that cater to specific business needs or vertical markets, offering solutions to challenges that are not easily addressed on legacy platforms. Examples include payroll and inventory management, restaurant reservation systems, kitchen display systems, or appointment tools. Early participants in the Appstore include companies such as LevelUp, Paypal, and Freshtxt, among others.
Leaf empowers local merchants to run and grow their businesses by providing a mobile payment platform built for local commerce. Leaf’s cost-effective product helps retail stores, restaurants, and other local merchants improve the speed and ease of checkout and offers easy-to-use business management, analytics, and customer engagement. By making the complex tasks of running a business easy, Leaf allows merchants to spend more time focusing on what’s important – the needs of their customers. For more information on how Leaf is transforming Point of Sale into Point of Smart, visit http://www.leaf.me.
About Heartland Payment Systems
Heartland Payment Systems, Inc. (NYSE: HPY), the fifth largest payments processor in the United States, delivers credit/debit/prepaid card processing, mobile commerce, e-commerce, marketing solutions, security technology, payroll solutions, and related business solutions and services to more than 275,000 business and educational locations nationwide. A FORTUNE 1000 company, Heartland is the founding supporter of The Merchant Bill of Rights, a public advocacy initiative that educates merchants about fair credit and debit card processing practices. Heartland also established The Sales Professional Bill of Rights to advocate for the rights of sales professionals everywhere. More detailed information can be found at HeartlandPaymentSystems.com, HeartlandPaymentSystems.com/Careers, HeartlandPaymentSystems.com/Blog or following the company on Twitter @HeartlandHPY and Facebook at facebook.com/HeartlandHPY.