We Grabbed a $4.5M Seed to Transform Customer Transactions into Lasting Ownership Relationships
And we will make fractional ownership easier than earning points with our Growth Rewards™ API
3 years ago, we launched Bits of Stock with a mission to help reverse wealth inequality by making stock ownership easier than earning points and miles. We started building the “Ownership Economy” to reshape brand loyalty & ownership in a more equitable and effective way by building an app that rewarded consumers with stock from the brands they shopped with. We were a couple of broke grad students in New York City, with an idea and some code.
Today we announce that we’ve raised $4.5 million in Seed funding from Yellow Accelerator by Snap Inc. and venture capital fund Keen Ventures Partners to scale the rewards program that we’ve proven out in our own app.
Our brand new Growth Rewards API will replace cashback and loyalty points with fractional shares, cryptocurrencies and other assets as rewards, whenever consumers shop. API clients like brands and fintechs can embed a seamless rewards experience into their applications, choosing from 1000s of fractional shares of stocks and cryptocurrencies rewards.
Cash back and points aren't cutting it.
Let’s face it, cash is trash and points disappoint. Loyalty and rewards programs have always felt gimmicky to us and our friends. We’ve all experienced complicated points based program that requires you to save up a million points before you can redeem it for a voucher that you can then take in store and get a coupon for something you never needed. Or when airlines give you miles that you never earn enough to use and by the time you do they expire! As the old saying goes, airlines are in the business of selling miles… When was the last time you were excited about a rewards or loyalty program? Go ahead, we’ll wait.
The ironic part is that most brands have a problem with their own loyalty programs as well. For example, when companies offer points and miles to their customers they issue them as a liability on their balance sheet — basically an IOU to their customers. These IOUs balloon to billions of dollars and often have to be written off, upsetting customers in the process. Cash back programs also are not usually “cash” but rather credits you have to spend with the company or for 90 days before you can use it. It’s not working for the customer or the brand.
What a waste of loyalty!
These broken loyalty programs are big business. Companies spent $135 billion in 2019 on direct brand loyalty and customer relationship management. Today, the global market size for rewards solutions is estimated at $200 billion and the global market for loyalty programs is expected to reach $215-$216 billion. That is a combined global market size of over $400 billion per year!
Still, more than 75 percent of Americans have tried new stores, brands or websites during the Covid-19 pandemic, according to the McKinsey report ‘The Quickening,” which also found that 60 percent of consumers plan to integrate new brands and stores into their post-Covid lives. More than ever, customer loyalty is up for grabs.
Imagine if we could transform half a trillion in reward and loyalty spend into a program customers actually wanted, actually drove brand loyalty and that actually benefited society. With wealth inequality at an all time high and showing no signs of letting up, broadening access to ownership is more urgent than ever.
Powering rewards programs with fractional ownership
In 2019 we launched our in-app Stock Rewards program where Bits of Stock users simply download our mobile app and connect it to their spending accounts. Then, when they make purchases with cards linked to those accounts, they earn stock rewards that grow over time, increasing their purchasing power and turning everyday consumer choices into wealth-building opportunities. We’ve proven that stock ownership and brand loyalty is a win-win for consumers and brands with 100s of participating merchants in our app. Now we are taking this proven concept to the next level by building a Growth Rewards API that enables our brand partners, other fintechs, and loyalty software providers to do the same thing! This is how we can give access to ownership to billions of consumers around the world.
Our Growth Rewards™ API will support a range of embedded finance and rewards-as-a-service use cases, and is the most significant innovation to customer loyalty programs since they began more than two centuries ago,” said Asady. Fintech innovation has finally made it simple and cost-effective for brands and retailers to offer a range of incentives, including fractional shares and other rewards that grow over time.
Big shout out to Keen and Snap as well as a coalition of successful angel investors, who had already discovered us before. Among them are Shane Happach (Mollie), Dick Boer (AHOLD), Arun Sundararajan (NYU Stern), David Vismans (Booking.com) and Kalo Bagijn (Brand New Day and Binck Bank).
One Love from Bits of Stock ❤️
About Keen Venture Partners
Keen Venture Partners is a radically human venture capital firm based in Amsterdam and London. It backs exceptional teams and fast-growing scaleups across Europe at the Series A and Series B stage. Keen Venture Partners aims to begin relationships by investing time first, money later, by sharing its network, experience and capabilities well before any investment possibility arises. For more information visit www.keenventurepartners.com
About Yellow Accelerator by Snap Inc.
The Yellow Accelerator is a launchpad by Snap for creative minds and entrepreneurs who are looking to build the next generation of great media companies. It serves companies at the intersection of creativity and technology. The Yellow Accelerator invests in companies that can contribute to human progress, by empowering people to express themselves, live in the moment, learn about the world, and have fun together. Visit www.yellowla.com/accelerator for more information.