Overall investment spend for the second full week of December came in at $686 million, swayed by a few key investments across few triple-digit deals, reversing some anemic weeks over the course of the last several and led by B2B deals. That shows up as a bit of an anomaly as FinTech has traditionally led the way. This past week, B2B was almost 70 percent of the investment activity.
The biggest deal of the week came in at $200 million, where OnDeck got that amount from Credit Suisse via an asset-backed revolving debt facility. Econocom, a German lender, garnered roughly $160 million after issuing loans via private placement.
Then, the dealmaking trailed off a bit, at least in scale, as Nubank grabbed some funding. DST poured $80 million into the Brazilian no-fee credit card outfit, in a valuation round that, as of last week, remained undisclosed. Though, in the past, U.S.-based investment flows remained key to overall activity across both B2B and FinTech investing, the U.S.’s weighting this time around, in terms of fund flows, was about 57 percent.
Bink Links Payments To Loyalty
U.K. digital loyalty startup Bink recently announced it had raised an additional £2 million ($2.5 million) in funding from angel investors, bringing the company’s total funding to over £10 million ($12.7 million).
“As more and more things digitize throughout the world,” said Greg Gormley, co-founder of Bink, “the thought of carrying plastic loyalty cards in a few years’ time will feel a little bit absurd.”
Gormley said the idea for the Bink app came about two-and-a-half years ago after an experience Cofounder Lee Clarke had shopping while on vacation with his family.
“Lee had quite a lot of spend in his basket and went to the till at Boots,” said Gormley. “They asked, ‘Have you got a loyalty card?’” But neither Lee nor his wife had brought it with them, leading to frustration that they couldn’t collect on their rewards points.
Enter Bink, which released its mobile loyalty app in the U.K. back in October. The app links consumers’ payment cards directly to merchant loyalty and rewards programs. Gormley said that Bink has seen “tens of thousands” of downloads since its debut.
“For the retailer,” said Gormley, “we can highlight the how recently, how frequently and what value any individual consumed while shopping. The retailer can be happy that they have 100 percent knowledge on their spends. And the consumer never misses out by always collecting on loyalty when using a payment card.”
Additionally, if a new consumer using the app shops at a Bink member store and isn’t a part of its loyalty program, as soon as they’ve made a purchase, a notification will ask if they would like to join the store’s loyalty program. Consumers can join straight from their mobile device.
“It’s a nice, frictionless, easy experience for the consumer to actually be able to join loyalty programs and engage with all of the brands that they love,” said Gormley. “Rather than having spam or loads of offers that are totally irrelevant come to your handset, our offers are based on what you buy and how you interact with that brand.”
While Bink connects payment cards to loyalty programs, allowing users to automatically collect points on purchases and monitor loyalty rewards balances in-app, the app is not itself a payment method.
“We’ve purposefully kept away from digital wallets,” said Gormley. “There are lots of payment wallets out there. It’s an interesting space that’s going to be fought for very hard. What we’ve done is to create a consumer-centric app to always keep track of your spends, never miss out on your rewards or points and have it easily accessible and highlighted in one place.”
Gormley noted that Bink can be of service to digital wallet providers by connecting them to loyalty programs. “We’ve spoken to Samsung, Google and Apple, and we can help power auto-point collection very simply, which means we can help accelerate this new technology. We believe that the automatic collection of rewards points is going to become standard in the industry in the next two to three years.”
As of now, Bink has 20 brands that use its digital loyalty platform, with many more brands currently in talks. With the latest funding round, Bink is focusing on new hires and international expansion. “We’re looking to launch into new territories very quickly,” said Gormley. “We’re expanding out to Ireland and South Africa in Q1 next year. We’re also going to start pushing out to the U.S. by Q2 next year.”
Additionally, Bink is looking to augment the app’s functionality. “It isn’t just about loyalty. It’s about wherever you spend money. We’re speaking to different membership programs — be that insurance or motor recovery breakdown. Really, anywhere where consumers can spend money and earn loyalty rewards or just be part of a membership program that can service content that’s relevant to you.”