Everyone loves small unexpected rewards, perhaps because you didn’t feel like you did anything to deserve said reward. Well, whether you deserve it or not, AppCard is here to add an extra dose of rewards you may need to get through the day. All you do is swipe your “AppCard” card or provide your telephone number (kind of like Walgreens), and viola! Just like you start racking up points that go towards your rewards. By getting rid of those extraneous cards you’ll have room for the rewards from your AppCard.
Speaking with cofounder Yair Goldfinger, we got the ins-and-outs of the company and how it thrives while remaining free for customers.
Who were your investors and how much did you raise?
We just raised $20M in Series B funding from Alexander Rittweger, founder of Loyalty Partner and PAYBACK, the world’s largest coalition loyalty platform with over 70M active members in Germany, Italy, India, Mexico and Poland (sold a majority stake in the business to American Express in 2011) and PLDT Capital, the investment arm of Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT, NYSE: PHI, PSE: TEL), led the round. Our existing investors: Founders Fund (Peter Thiel), Innovation Endeavors (Eric Schmidt) also participated.
Tell us about your product or service.
AppCard is an innovative personalized marketing and loyalty platform that uses item-level smart data capture and artificial intelligence to change the way retailers communicate with their customers. The technology empowers thousands of businesses, across all segments, to offer personalized, multi-channel marketing offers directly to shoppers, creating new opportunities for consumer outreach and retention.
What inspired you to start the company?
A lot of today’s great companies have very young founders and I, myself, was in my 20s when I started ICQ. When you’re young you just dive in and go. I wanted to feel that way again so, I started a company that focused on sector I knew nothing about – offline retail…
How is it different?
AppCard’s technology. We combine item-level smart data capture with artificial intelligence to automate marketing, enabling business owners and marketers to send personalized and relevant multi-channel offers to its customers.
What market you are targeting and how big is it?
Our target is small to medium sized businesses in addition to enterprise and food services companies.
What’s your business model?
We charge a monthly service fee to retailers and AppCard is free to use for customers.
How has the team’s previous experience with ICQ (acquired by AOL) and Dotomi (acquired by ValueClick) impacted the business??
It’s a combination of our past businesses. At ICQ, the messaging platform, there was a one-to-one personal connection and Dotomi was an ecommerce-retargeting tool. If you think about, with AppCard, we are connecting online-to-offline retail and empowering retailers to personalize offer to their customers so, it really is a combo of our previous worlds.
What was the funding process like?
The process in general is a lot like dating. We identified strategic investors that would not only offer financial investment, but to us, and more importantly, we looked for strategic partners who’s involvement would really fast-track our growth.
What are the biggest challenges that you faced while raising capital?
The biggest challenge with most fundraising is to keep the process as streamlined as possible while staying focused on building and growing the company and, of course, finding the right investment partners.
What factors about your business led your investors to write the check?
We have a very strong founding team with a solid track record, huge market opportunitiy, deep technology, and great success stories.
What are the milestones you plan to achieve in the next six months?
In the next six months we plan on growing our sales and technology teams as well as grow our business.
Where do you see the company going now over the near term?
Right now we’re focused on growing the sales team and further investing in our technology. We’re hiring, so be sure to drop us a line!
Where is your favorite bar in the city for an after work drink?
Every Friday we have staff “Happy Hour” – our team is fun – so, I can’t really say I have a favorite spot…