Protean Rebrands as Stratos, Closes $5.8 Million Seed Round

Stratos, the Ann Arbor-based mobile payment startup formerly known as Protean Payment, has closed on a $5.8 million seed funding round, with investments from Toba Capital, Western Technology Investment, Resonant Venture Partners, and Hyde Park Venture Partners.

Stratos co-founder and CEO Thiago Olson says the funding will allow the company to step up its hiring and recruitment efforts—Stratos currently lists eight job openings on its site—in anticipation of the launch of its mobile payment card. He says the name change was done to “reflect some of the qualities we look for: strength; expansiveness; universality. The pronunciation with Protean was also an issue, so we wanted to do a rebrand with a new face.”

Stratos has developed a mobile payment platform that combines all of a user’s plastic cards into a single, Bluetooth-connected card. Although Olson was tight-lipped about how the company has tweaked its original prototype “Echo” card—which enabled users to store their credit, debit, gift, and loyalty cards on an app, and then choose a card for Echo to mimic at the point of sale—he did say the concept remains “very similar.” Because the Stratos platform incorporates loyalty and gift cards, it also helps consumers make better purchasing decisions by alerting them to the discounts and other deals to which they’re entitled.

Olson says Stratos will soon move its team to a bigger office. (He declined to say where the new office is located.) He expects to launch the card “within the coming months.”

“The thing we’re excited about is that we’re seeing a lot of movement in the mobile payment space,” Olson adds. “We’re in the hot spot between mobile payments and smart devices, so we’re excited to announce this funding and move forward with our partners.”

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