Montreal’s AnywhereCommerce a Company to Watch

It’s a good time to be in the mobile payment business, and the people at Montreal’s Anywhere Commerce have been at it for longer than most.


Anywhere Commerce maufactures hardware attachments for mobile phones, and the encryption software so mobile phones can be used at mobile point of sale terminals for credit cards or bank cards.

“We were Square before Square was Square,” company CEO Mitch Cobrin recently told me, referring to the well-known San Francisco-based mobile payment company.

In fact, Square uses technology on which Anywhere Commerce holds the patent, specifically, accepting payments using an encrypted hardware that plugs in to a phone’s audio jack.

Cobrin and Co. have been at the mobile payment game for so long, they hold numerous patents in the field.

But the company isn’t satisfied with just sitting on its patents and waiting for money to roll in. Anywhere Commerce recently entered into an agreement with Delta Airlines, AT&T and Microsoft to allow flight attendants to accept mobile payments while in the air. AT&T provides the network, Microsoft will provide the phones, and Anywhere provides the hardware and software. Delta has ordered 19,000 units from Anywhere Commerce.

Cobrin explained that with many of the current systems, the transactions are taken in the air, but only sent through the credit card company’s servers once the plane lands, which is a risk for fraud to occur. With this agreement, flight attendants will get instant authentication for a payment.

The company also provides a mobile payment solution in a box at Office Depot stores in the U.S. It provides the phone attachment and the software under the Office Depot brand, that any small business can pick up and use. The company has shipped tens of thousands of units since the agreement with Office Depot began last January. Anywhere Commerce is also the mobile payment company of choice for Bank of America and Wells Fargo. The company received recognition as part of the prestigious Visa Ready program, giving it the largest credit card holder’s seal of approval to accept mobile payments.

Cobrin said the agreement with Visa is a huge boost for the company, because Visa has been very proactive in trying to get new customers to start using mobile payments.

“We’re thinking about people who sell produce at the market, gardeners, and plumbers,” he said. “Visa wants to be able to accept payments from a horse-drawn carriage in central park.”

Anywhere Commerce has  25 people working in offices in Montreal, Miami and Hong Kong. The company has seen its revenue double every year since it began, and is turning a profit. The company makes its money through software licensing, and transaction fees.

Pamela Rasey