A GoPago customer tells us that Amazon has indeed bought GoPago and most of the staff has been let go. This customer heard the news last week from newly unemployed workers and executives, the staff that he had been working with prior to the acquisition, he told Business Insider.
This customer owns a string of restaurants and was doing a fairly large-scale test of the GoPago devices, which let customers pay for food with their smartphones. He had ordered about three dozen devices, paying around $US100/per device per month for the service, including the hardware, the cloud service and Verizon fees.
“Amazon basically took over their development team and anybody else was let go. They may still have a skeleton crew, but I’m not getting answers and the usual people I talked to are no longer there,” this customer told Business Insider.
This customer said the test had shown there were still some wrinkles in the system that needed to be ironed out. When a restaurant patron used it, GoPago didn’t always charge the customer correctly, or the restaurant didn’t always get paid correctly. The system would “lose transactions, or the transactions would get messed up, get error-ed out … no one [at GoPago] would know what was wrong,” our source said. It had “lots of bugs.” Our source had been hoping to continue to work with GoPago on fixing them.
Amazon has not yet publicly commented on the acquisition, nor responded to Business Insider’s requests for comment. GoPago has not responded to us either. (The email we sent to GoPago’s media relations team was forwarded onto a technical support forum.)
As this was a trial, he was working with GoPago to fix the system until last week, when he was told that Amazon acquired the company. News broke on Monday about the acquisition after Italian newspaper La Repubblica had reported on it. Vincenzo Di Nicola, an Italian native and GoPago’s co-founder and CTO, had talked to the La Repubblica.
In that report, Nicola said that he was not joining Amazon.
Meanwhile, this customer, who prepaid his contract for GoPago, says he “just wants to my money back.” But, again, he can’t get anyone still working at the company to answer his calls.
Meanwhile, it’s unclear what Amazon plans to do with the GoPago technology.
Di Nicola told La Repubblica that the GoPago tech will be at the heart of a new, “ambitious” project at Amazon. There’s been speculation that it will become part of Amazon’s new “Log in and Pay” service that lets you pay for stuff on other ecommerce sites through your Amazon account. There’s also speculation that Amazon is building its own internal mobile payments tech to compete with PayPal or Square directly.
Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through his personal investment company Bezos Expeditions.