This article by Supratim Adhikari first appeared in The Australian, 12 February 2019. The article is reproduced in full.
Sydney-based fintech OpenSparkz, which is working to reimagine the world of loyalty programs, is on the hunt for big-ticket customers as it chases a $7 million funding round.
With nine out of 10 Australians participating in a loyalty program, OpenSparkz founder Terry McMullen is confident that OpenSparkz technology is ready to shake up the clunky way consumers are using their loyalty cards.
“There are more loyalty program memberships in the world than there are people, it’s a trillion-dollar industry, but when you are in a loyalty program to win the rewards you have to do something extra at the point of sales,” he said.
“It’s one of the few friction points that digitisation has left untouched and the reason for that is this is one process that has been completely siloed from the broader payments environment.”
According to Mr McMullen, who had 23 years at Australian loyalty and rewards services heavyweight Pinpoint, current systems are frustrating for consumers and merchants alike.
“It’s a two-step process for consumers and it’s worse for merchants because they have to capture the card details, match them to the payment details and then integrate all of this information; it’s high cost and high friction for them.”
OpenSparkz is looking to eliminate this friction, with its platform capable of powering any loyalty program without the need for any separate cards, offer codes or coupons, and merchants not having to invest in extra data processing and staff training.
The company recently raised $1.5m from regional and local investors, with the Singapore-based deputy chief executive of Accor Hotels Asia Pacific, Louise Daley, joining OpenSparkz’s board.
Having secured the essential security certifications, including PCI-DSS, and completing integrations with global payment schemes, OpenSparkz is now mulling a Series A capital raising round of up to $US5m ($7m) in the second
half of 2019.
“Our focus is now getting enterprise customers on board to use the OpenSparkz platform to power their loyalty or offers program,” Mr McMullen said.
“We are in healthy discussions with multiple airlines and retail loyalty programs with significant memberships.”