Leaf, creator of the LeafPresenter, a tablet designed for commerce, today announced it has closed $20 million in its first round of funding from Heartland Payment Systems, one of the nation's largest payments processors and provider of merchant business solutions. The funding will accelerate Leaf's mission to provide a unified, open-commerce platform that redefines the way business owners operate, according to a company press release. Leaf will use the funds to advance manufacturing capabilities of the LeafPresenter and to expand its team of developers and employees.

"While discussing a major distribution deal with Heartland, it became clear that we have much deeper synergies than simply selling together," said Aron Schwarzkopf, co-founder and CEO of Leaf. "Heartland is spearheading a new wave of innovation across the industry that aligns with our mission of creating an open platform that empowers business owners to aggregate valuable services under one digital fingerprint. Local merchants have very different needs, so enabling their success with new technology is all about giving them options to create an experience that's most valuable for them and their customers. Our flexible platform lets merchants choose processing services from Heartland or any number of other providers, as well as vertical-specific POS applications from Leaf or any other player in the industry."

In addition to the investment, Heartland has also joined Leaf's network of distribution partners with its national sales force of more than 800 relationship managers. Heartland will build an array of value-added apps on the Leaf platform — including payroll, and mobile and online ordering, among others.

By bundling Leaf with their core payment products, organizations like Heartland and others within the Leaf Membership Network can strengthen their relationships with merchants by delivering additional value-added business tools, while also benefiting from new revenue streams and more loyal customers. Early partners of the program have substantially increased new merchant acquisition, said Bob Carr, chairman and CEO of Heartland.

"We look forward to working with Leaf and a consortium of service providers to advance how merchants gain advantage in this increasingly omni-channel world," he said. "Leaf's platform is truly open in the sense of allowing business owners the freedom to work with the payments and business solution providers that they deem best for their individual businesses. Leaf's innovative approach represents a major paradigm shift in hospitality and retail technology — one that enables operators to affordably and quickly integrate and leverage exciting new technologies as they adapt to the ever-changing business landscape."

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