Clinkle, a mobile-payments startup launched by a group of Stanford students, has brought a grown-up on board. Former Netflix (NFLX) CFO Barry McCarthy will be named the company's chief operating officer Tuesday.

In an interview, McCarthy, 60, called the opportunity in front of Clinkle greater than that of Netflix. "Payments is a bigger market; it touches everybody," he said.

Clinkle, a secretive app that's being quietly rolled out across college campuses, drew gasps in June when it raised a $25 million "seed" round of capital from backers including PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel and Google (GOOG) board member Diane Greene. The San Francisco startup claims its mobile app, by linking to a user's bank and credit card accounts, can let people transact purchases without pulling out a wallet.

At 50 employees, Clinkle is slightly larger than Netflix was when McCarthy joined up in 1999. As chief financial officer, he helped take Netflix to more than 4,000 workers and an IPO, taking down video-rental powerhouse Blockbuster in the process.

With Netflix shifting from DVD rentals to online streaming, McCarthy left "to pursue broader professional opportunities," adding that he wanted to try running a company. Instead, he briefly joined investment firm Technology Crossover Ventures; he sits on the boards of startups Eventbrite and Chegg, the textbook-rental service that has filed to go public.

Lucas Duplan, Clinkle's 22-year-old chief executive, said in a statement that McCarthy will play a key role in launching the payments product and driving the company's growth. His experience and "track record for driving innovation and delivering results," Duplan added, "will be an incredible asset."

Contact Peter Delevett at 408-271-3638. Follow him at Twitter.com/mercwiretap.

little startup, big names
Investors in Clinkle's record-setting, $25 million seed round included:
Accel Partners
Andreessen Horowitz
Marc Benioff, CEO, Salesforce.com
Gordon Eubanks, ex-CEO, Symantec
Diane Greene, co-founder, VMware
Intel Capital
Bob Joss, former dean, Stanford Business School
Regis McKenna, marketing guru
Ross Perot Jr.
Peter Thiel, PayPal co-founder
Owen Van Natta, ex-COO, Facebook
Andrew Viterbi, Qualcomm co-founder
Source: Clinkle