Mobile payments startup Cortex setting up Cambridge office


Cortex, a West Coast mobile payments technology startup, has its first employee in Cambridge and plans to have as many as ten employees at the office by the end of 2014.

The company aims to solve many of the issues that have hindered mobile payments from taking off, including security and user verification, while also offering new features such as a way for consumers to get “hyper-local” deals targeted to them by merchants.

Cortex doesn’t offer a mobile wallet app of its own, but instead allows payments companies to embed the technology in their own mobile wallets.

The “hyper-local” technology allows consumers to indicate an intent to purchase an item or service using the app. The consumer sets a geographic radius and the amount of money they’re willing to spend, and nearby merchants can then target offers to the consumer, competing for their dollar.

The company’s first Cambridge employee is Rob Stringer, vice president of product development. The Cortex office is located at the Cambridge Innovation Center.

By year’s end, Cortex expects to add to its Cambridge office with new hires in software engineering, quality assurance, and marketing, said chief executive Shaunt Sarkissian.

Founded in October 2012, Cortex employs 30 overall and is based in Mission Viejo, California. Members of the company’s founding team have roots in Boston-based ROAM Data, a provider of white-label payments technology.

Sarkissian, formerly of ROAM, will be among those speaking at Innovation Project 2014 at Harvard University on Wednesday and Thursday.

Cortex is already generating revenue and “the folks in the news today for mobile wallets are people we’re talking to,” Stringer said.

The company has raised some angel funding so far, the amount of which is not being disclosed; however, Sarkissian said that Cortex is now looking to raise a Series A round.

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Kyle Alspach has worked in journalism in Massachusetts since 2005 and was one of the original staff writers at BetaBoston.
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