WeGift closes $8 million investment to supercharge Incentive Marketing for corporates
AlbionVC leads Series A extension investment as WeGift reports 317% annual revenue growth
LONDON, 25 November 2020 – WeGift, the digital incentives platform whose clients range from global corporates to SMEs has secured $8 million in new funding by way of a Series A extension, led by AlbionVC.
Existing investors including Stride.vc, SAP.iO fund and Unilever Ventures participated with significant follow on financing, signalling their continued conviction in WeGift’s vision to transform how businesses and consumers send and spend money. Following the fundraise, Ed Lascelles, General Partner at AlbionVC, will join WeGift’s Board of Directors.
This investment round will help WeGift deliver on its vision of creating the world’s first real-time infrastructure for digital rewards and incentives. The funds will be used to continue WeGift’s investment in building its supply chain through direct integrations with brands, and product development that serves corporate marketing teams looking to acquire, activate and retain customers at scale.
WeGift was founded in 2016 by Aron Alexander after he received a £5 paper gift card refund in the mail prompting his realisation that the $700 billion rewards and incentives industry was running on legacy systems that were built for physical gift cards while the entire world was going digital.
WeGift is transforming the rewards and incentive industry using a secure, cloud-based, open API technology platform which allows businesses to automate sending digital incentives in real-time. At the same time, WeGift provides companies with powerful analytics on their incentive marketing campaigns, enabling them to better understand their customers and build stronger relationships.
Founder and CEO Aron Alexander commented:
“Historically businesses had to spend thousands of hours a year manually buying and distributing digital rewards. WeGift helps companies intelligently automate this process to power new customer acquisition and retention campaigns. We give them instant access to a huge choice of rewards and payouts, an ever-growing network of more than 700 brand partners, across 30 markets and 20 currencies. We are disrupting a broken market on a global scale, and this investment, together with our partnerships with Albion VC, Unilever Ventures, SAP.iO Fund and Stride.vc, is an instrumental step forward in achieving our vision.”
Ed Lascalles, Partner at AlbionVC commented:
“The gifting and incentives market is enormous but is still largely based on 20th century infrastructure. WeGift’s real time, API-first platform transforms the user experience, underpinning exceptional growth even in this difficult economic climate. We are delighted to support Aron and his team as they build on their early success.”
Fred Destin, Founder Stride.VC commented:
“WeGift has built the best product in this market, assembled a fantastic, highly diverse team and is building a strong, sustainable business around digital incentives, branded currencies and the brave new world of digital payouts. This is just the start. Delighted to be backing this team again.”
WeGift Customer – Vodafone, Head of Affiliates, Cai Mullins commented:
“WeGift’s Incentive Marketing platform has unlocked a world of possibilities for Vodafone and were exactly what we needed to drive new revenue.”
- ENDS –
For further information please contact:
Etai Rosen, CRO, WeGift
Businesses from every walk of life use rewards to acquire, retain and thank customers but the current process is broken. Sending rewards, incentives and non-cash payouts is manual, expensive, time consuming and error prone. WeGift changes this.
Operating in more than 30 countries, in 22 languages, 20 currencies, with over 700 brand partners, and hundreds of clients, like Vodafone, Samsung, Vouchercodes, Perkbox and Sodexo, among others, WeGift’s incentive marketing platform and open API solution enables businesses to transfer value to consumers, in real-time and globally.
AlbionVC helps build the future of enterprise and healthcare. With 20+ years’ experience in technology investments, the team focuses on B2B software and healthcare at Series A. AlbionVC manages c.£500m of venture funds, currently invested in over 50 companies. AlbionVC is the technology investment arm of Albion Capital Group LLP, which is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.
How many times were you offered a gift card by a corporate/employer/friend [insert any use case here]? I would guess plenty of times and yet, if you are like me before I met WeGift, you probably ignore the massive scale of this market (still mainly offline) and the inefficiencies of its existing infrastructure. Let’s dive in.
Gigantic invisible market
Every year over $620bn of gift cards are issued globally, with half of this value being purchased by corporates to reward or incentivise their employees or customers. This market is growing strongly and is expected to reach $1.9tn (not a typo, you read this right) by 2027. However, digital gift cards, the best experience for end users, only represent 25% of the market with the rest still being physical plastic cards.
Why is digital penetration so low? Because there is no simple way for corporates to easily issue and purchase digital gift cards from various brands and retailers. This requires negotiating commercial contracts, building technical integrations and still going through manual and time-consuming ordering, fulfilment (eg. receiving gift cards in csv formats!) and payments processes.
As Fred at StrideVC explained when they led the previous round, it is a misunderstood industry with broken processes, poor technology and plenty of distrust between the players. The incumbents are brick and mortar companies that were built in the physical gift cards era and do not offer a good digital offering. The perfect recipe for a sector ripe for disruption.
Last but not least, the market numbers above don’t even include use cases like incentive marketing and other adjacent verticals such as award points and travel vouchers. The total non-cash pay-outs market is already humongous and there is a strong opportunity to grow it even further with an easy-to-use automated solution.
Enters WEGIFT : the Stripe of digital incentives
WeGift is a B2B platform, cloud-based or via API, that enables corporates to easily issue programmable incentives that are automated, real-time, fractional, embeddable and personalised. Through a single API, which is simple and quick to integrate with (like Stripe), corporates can access +700 brands (eg. Amazon, John Lewis, Nike, Uber, Starbucks) globally (+30 countries currently). WeGift enables corporates to get discounts, no longer hold inventory, automate ordering, delivery and invoicing while providing a better experience for end consumers.
WeGift is essentially building the rails of the incentive economy. We are very excited by its vision of creating an alternative payments infrastructure that enables corporates to issue non-cash payouts to anyone. It already has a long list of clients (eg. Vodafone, E.On, Perkbox, Sodexo) using the platform for a variety of uses cases such as employee benefits or incentive marketing (customer acquisition, activation, retention, referral) and the additional applications could be endless. If you are a CMO at a corporate selling to consumers you should contact them!
At the confluence of key trends
What we also loved about WeGift is that it plays into various trends, which we particularly like at AlbionVC:
- Digitalisation: WeGift fosters and benefits from the digitalisation of a sector still largely analogue and offline, which is being accelerated by Covid.
- API economy: WeGift’s fast and scalable API automates the ordering in real-time, offering a better user experience and driving usage.
- B2B marketplace: WeGift is a complex tripartite marketplace that cracked the typical chicken-and-egg challenge of building supply (retailers/brands and their gift cards payments processors) and demand (corporates). It benefits from network effects as more suppliers and corporates join its platform.
The Rockstar team behind it
Aron Alexander got the idea behind WeGift after receiving a paper voucher in the post, which remained on his wall for 4 years! He has been on a mission since then and we have been impressed by his clear vision, tenacity, ambition and commitment. When Harry at StrideVC introduced us he said: “Never thought I would find someone as obsessed with their job as me, until I met Aron!”.
Aron has assembled a stellar team around him including Etai Rosen (CRO), Vaughn McKenzie-Landell (CPO) and Julie Oey (FD). We were not surprised to see that WeGift was recently ranked #6 in this list of top London startups to work for. And yes, they are currently recruiting for a few roles.
We like the strong sense of purpose of the team who has a vision of open access to the global economy without banks, borders, barriers or boundaries. It matters because 40% of the world still don’t have full access to the banking system. “Imagine sending and receiving money is as easy as sending and receiving an email. Where value is available to everyone, everywhere.”
We are super excited to be leading WeGift’s last financing round to take on this huge opportunity and look forward to working together in the years to come.