Startups

With its latest acquisition, Malvern-based digital payments company Cantaloupe keeps growing

After a rebrand, a refresh of its executive team and the $41 million acquisition of Three Square Market, Cantaloupe is aiming to become the global leader in digital payments, new CEO Ravi Venkatesan told us.

Ravi Venkatesan, CEO of Cantaloupe. (Courtesy photo)
The Cantaloupe keeps growing, from a rebrand to multiple acquisitions in just a few years.

Most recently, the Malvern-based digital payments and software company acquired Three Square Market (32M) in a $41 million deal announced this week. The goal is to accelerate its market presence in Europe and become a global market leader for cell service commerce.

CEO Ravi Venkatesan told Technical.ly the company was previously known as USA Technologies until in 2017, it acquired the then-Bay Area-based Cantaloupe in a move to strengthen itself in the “unattended retail market.” The company handles digital transactions for technology like parking meters and vending machines, and uses Internet of Things technology, cloud technology and its Seed Markets software to keep stock of retail sales and other transactions.

In 2020, the company had a tough financial year, and a new board and leadership team was brought in. That’s when Venkatesan entered the picture, he said, and the company adopted the Cantaloupe name in 2021. As technologist and product developer at his core, Venkatesan first took the role of CTO, then COO, and finally this past October, the CEO role.

“I had been studying this business even before I came in and noted some changing consumer preferences, a lack of available labor and the cheaper and easier availability of tech innovation,” he said. “Ultimately it will lead to more and more commerce being self-service.”

The company has four key capabilities in its new vision, Venkatesan said. First, it’s aiming to be the leader in technology that powers digital payments, as ecommerce continues to grow and in-person retail moves toward those self-service payments. Even a physical storefront’s transactions can be connected to the cloud, Venkatesan said. It’s second capability is to handle digital payments, where a card is either present (buying something in-store) or not (ecommerce) at a very large scale. Third, the company is leveraging vertical-specific software in different settings, customizing for spaces like hospitals and in-person retail settings.

Its fourth aim is where the 32M acquisition comes in: 32M is a provider of software and self-service point-of-sale kiosks that allow for contactless checkout. The two companies had already partnered for a few years, Venkatesan said, with 32M’s kiosks using Cantaloupe’s Seed Markets software.

“Bringing 32M into Cantaloupe and gaining access to Cantaloupe’s 25,000+ customer base, from small and medium businesses to large enterprises, is an exciting opportunity for us,” said Tony Danna, president of 32M, in a statement. “We can now better leverage Cantaloupe’s Seed platform with our existing customers, both in the US and other geographies, and expect to benefit from a combined salesforce to help our products reach more customers.”

The acquisition brings this micro-market technology to nearly 3,000 locations in North America, the UK, Sweden and Romania, and allows for cross-selling of 32M’s micro market technology to Cantaloupe’s existing food and beverage customers. Cantaloupe also acquired micro market payments company Yoke last year for similar reasons, Venkatesan said.

The 32M acquisition will add about 40 people to Cantaloupe’s 230-person team, which is mainly based in Malvern, but has a secondary office in Atlanta. Venkatesan said the incoming employees are part of “inherently capable” engineering and sales teams.

The acquisition ultimately came down to the way the companies would complement each other, not compete, Venkatesan said. Plus, there’s now potential to expand in markets much faster than anticipated.

“This is not putting two businesses together to take costs out,” Venkatesan said. “It’s about revenue synergies.”

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