Google backs Indian awards startup Twid – TechCrunch


India-based Tweed, which operates a rewards-based payment platform, has raised $12 million to grow its network of merchants and issuers and expand its solution in the South Asian market.

Rakuten Capital led the startup’s Series A round, which saw participation from Google and existing investors including Sequoia Surge and Binext.

Tweed allows customers to pay at offline and online stores using their loyalty and rewards points from banks, fintech platforms and e-commerce sites. The Bengaluru-based startup’s partners include online grocer JioMart, pharmacy Netmeds, ticketing platform Yatra and music streaming Ghana.

“The problem is very simple and it’s big around the world, people have gotten rewards from a lot of places, but they’ve mostly been like locked assets,” Tweed founder and CEO Amit Koshal said in an interview. with TechCrunch.

Koshal co-founded Tweed with Rishi Batra and Amit Sharma in 2020 to build a network influencer platform for the masses. The company claims to have more than 40 million registered users.

Tweed co-founders Amit Sharma, Amit Koshal and Rishi Batra (left to right)

Tweed brings ‘Pay with Rewards’ option It is available on the online store checkout page or at retail so that customers can redeem their reward points for their purchases. The reward points, in this case, can come from a list of issuers, and users can choose which loyalty program or reward points they want to take.

IndusInd Bank, Payback and InterMiles are some of the key reward points for Tweed users. The platform earns reward points from Flipkart for allowing users to make payments using their Supercoins – the e-commerce company’s term for its loyalty points.

Tweed says it has more than $1 billion in rewards points earned by its issuer partners and is available at more than 50,000 merchants.

Koshal told TechCrunch that Tweed accounts for more than five to eight percent of its merchant partners’ total digital transactions. The startup has integrated its platform with PayU, RazorPay and CCAvenue to offer a reward point-based payment option across multiple online stores.

“The idea is that we can control 80% of the ransoms that happen in the country,” Koshal said. The executive also said merchants are actively integrating Tweed’s platform as it helps them find customers at discounted prices — instead of tricking them into making purchases after offering discounts or refunds.

“We provide a lot of intelligence to our partners; what are the categories that are doing well, what is the average order value we’re increasing for you, how many transactions are we increasing for you per customer,” Koshal said. They’re going on.”

Tweed also helps its issuer partners fine-tune their offerings by sharing which rewards points are logging in the fastest with customers.

“When we combine all these issuers, we can reach more than 300 million customers,” he said.

Tweed

Tweed offers a ‘Pay with Rewards’ option for users to pay using their reward points

Tweed plans to use its fresh funds to grow its network and enter the business, Koshal told TechCrunch. “We want to build a good team of Second Moon talent. Therefore, we are growing in all departments,” he said. The company’s head count is 42 people.

The executive plans to strengthen the technology and “invest heavily” in data science. Sunil Gopinath, CEO of Rakuten India, is joining Twid’s board of directors on behalf of Rakuten Capital.

“Rakuten Capital sees great potential and future synergies in this investment. I am excited to join Twid’s Board of Directors as our global membership products are developed at Rakuten India in Bengaluru and I look forward to transforming Reward Points alongside Amit Koshal, Rishi Batra, Amit Sharma and their talented team.” They are seen and used in India,” Gopinath said in a prepared statement.

Tweed plans to use Rakuten’s expertise in reward points to improve its platform.

“Whatever theirs is [Rakuten’s] Knowledge from products, platforms etc., what they have built, skills they have acquired, those are the lessons we can learn from them to start a strong business in India. .

In a statement to TechCrunch, Rakuten Capital said it sees huge market potential for India-based rewards business opportunities and Tweed is well-positioned to capitalize on this opportunity to build and scale its business model.

“We are also looking forward to providing Rakuten India with our technology expertise in building the Rakuten Group’s global rewards program platforms and developing best-of-breed solutions in India,” said the Japanese firm’s corporate venture capital arm. .

In parallel with Rakuten, the addition of Google is expected to help Tweed expand its model of allowing customers to use their multiple rewards points to make purchases.

“Google has a long history of investing in early-stage startups across industries. And we are very happy to partner with loyal players like them on the journey, said Koshal.

In July last year, Tweed raised $2.5 million in funding led by Binnext and Sequoia Surge. “What we liked when we met with the team and what was unique to us was that instead of building a closed loop system, they tried to make this thing funky and create an open loop system,” said Hero Choudhary, Managing Partner, Beenext. TechCrunch explains what led the Singaporean venture capital firm to back Tweed from its inception.



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