Sequoia’s Latest Play In Mobile Payments

Sequoia Capital will announce on Monday it is co-leading a $12 million round of financing for the SMS marketing and mobile transactions startup Clickatell.

Sequoia and DAG Ventures are providing equal portions of the Series B round, which Clickatell will use to accelerate its push into mobile transactions in Africa and under-served parts of the United States

Sequoia was part of an undisclosed Series A round in 2004 in the Cape Town, South Africa-based company that also has an office in Redwood Shores, Calif.

Pieter de Villiers, chief executive, described mobile transactions and payments in emerging markets as a high-growth opportunity. The company plans to target banks with an interest in the business.

Clickatell is profitable through its existing SMS advertising business and expects to grow revenue 30% for the fiscal year ending in March. It has more than 13,000 customers.

In a press release, the company said its messaging-based services will enable financial transactions over the mobile phone in developing countries. In the United States, it will launch a Web-based offering to allow small and medium-sized businesses to deploy priority messaging.

Ethos Private Equity participated in the Series A round.