the startup that helps businesses nationwide attain the Starbucks loyalty Card “pay-in-advance for your coffee” model, is announcing $14 million in new funding from Greylock IL (an affiliate fund of Greylock Partners), Granite Ventures, new investor Commerce Ventures, and a number of leading new angel and unnamed strategic investors.
As mentioned above, Marqeta essentially allows merchants both large and small create a card with stored value, gift card value, loyalty value and additional rewards. Retailers get a gifting, loyalty, promotions, cash back offers, charitable donations and more.
The aim is to create a Starbucks-like card experience, where you could put any amount on a pre-paid card, for a merchant. The compelling part of Marqeta’s offering is that it can provide these pre-paid amounts from multiple retailers on one payment card or mobile app.
Additional use cases include a variety of marketing and rewards programs such as digitized employee rewards, corporate incentive payments and streamlined school donation campaigns that can sit on one consumer account and payments vehicle. Enterprises and merchants alike manage their accounts via a cloud-based portal.
The company is also announcing that is a way for people to give their friends gifts to places like Jamba Juice, Olive Garden, Sephora, and Target, all on one reusable gift card purchased from Facebook.
Last year Marqeta launched its own loyalty service in San Francisco. Instead of receiving points and product rewards, Marqeta merchants give consumers more money to spend in grocery, restaurants, dry cleaning and beyond. Marqeta also debuted a universal gifting feature with merchants including Jamba Juice, 1-800 Flowers and thousands of other online and brick and mortar retailers via a partnership with Discover.
Jason Gardner, Founder and CEO of Marqeta, explains that merchants generally don’t want to change their point of sale when adding a loyalty program, they want to use their existing infrastructure and form factor (i.e. credit cards); and they don’t want to have to retrain anyone in using the new loyalty systems. Marqeta satisfies all of these wants and needs, he says. Other customers include Target and Jamba Juice.
While other startups like Belly offer loyalty programs, Gardner contends that basic loyalty technologies don’t drive customers through the doors of merchants. What does push traffic into an establishment is if a customer already has money on a card and wants and can spend that money. And there is the possibility they could earn even more money by spending this money.
Gardner says that the new funding will be used towards investing in additional infrastructure, technology and hiring.