BY LINDA BAKER
Nat Parker, CEO of GlobeSherpa
// Photo by Sierra Breshears
In many parts of Europe and Asia, mobile tickets and payments for transit are ubiquitous. Not so in the United States, where only two public transit agencies use mobile ticketing systems: MBTA Commuter Rail in Boston and New York Waterway. Now Nat Parker, chief executive of GlobeSherpa, a Portland-based mobile ticketing startup, aims to spread the smart payment gospel. The company has developed a platform that allows riders to buy tickets on their smartphones. The system also lets fare inspectors check for and validate tickets and gives transit agencies access to real-time sales and purchasing data. Another plus: Consumers can buy the e-tickets as a group, a useful feature for everyone from families to fans attending Blazer games. After launching in 2010, GlobeSherpa is now beta testing the platform on TriMet buses and expects to debut the system citywide on buses, MAX and commuter trains in June. A next step is to integrate the platform with local merchants. Consumers can also use the software to purchase parking spaces, Parker says. GlobeSherpa is in conversation with other transit agencies nationwide, and Parker says many U.S. cities are eager to catch up with the rest of the world, at least in the smartticketing arena. “Wherever you can reduce cash, you stand to create a very big efficiency and save money. We’re bullish on mobile payments.”
PRODUCT: Mobile ticketing services
CEO: Nat Parker
TRUTH TELLER: “Security is the No. 1 issue in designing mobile payment software; it’s got to be rock solid and secure. The user experience is No. 2. It has to be easy to use and fun. Anyone using a TriMet ticket today has pretty much the exact opposite experience.”
BACK OFFICE: Raised $500,000 in seed round led by TIE, Portland Seed Fund and Alliance of Angels. Landed $1.3 million in Series B Funding. Employs nine people, mostly software engineers, with plans to hire a director of business development and sales associates.