Swapi, an app that lets people swap loyalty points between brands, has raised £350,000 in seed funding as it counts down to launching in autumn 2021.
A collective of angel investors is backing the UK-based startup, including Sean Wilkinson, president of the Incentive Marketing Association Europe and Jon Bowles, founder of Cultural Capitalism Ltd.
Swapi was founded in 2020 by former Harvey Nichols and Harrods loyalty leader Pete Howroyd to give people a new kind of power over where they spend their loyalty rewards. Instead of being tied to one company, points go into the Swapi ‘digital wallet’, freeing them up to be spent with an array of different brands in the Swapi marketplace.
The app has been created to tackle one of loyalty’s biggest problems: the wasted billions that sit unused on people’s loyalty cards. The average person has £47 of dormant loyalty cash in their wallet, totalling £6 billion in the UK and $360 billion globally.
This new investment will be used to develop the technology that drives Swapi’s unique ‘swap’ function, replacing historic models that are limited to buying and selling loyalty currency at an exchange rate that reduces overall value for the consumer.
Howroyd commented: “To secure this level of investment at such an early stage in Swapi’s development is so encouraging. It’s particularly meaningful that our first round includes people who know our industry and understand the potential Swapi has to positively transform the loyalty experience, for consumers and for brands.
“Covid has left the retail economy in a perilous state, and Swapi will work on several levels to make a difference. It gives people more spending power. Valuable loyalty points often don’t get used because people don’t want to shop with the brand they’re linked to and they are left to expire. Swapi turns these points into rewards and cash with brands they do want to shop with, putting extra money in their pocket in a really quick and easy way. There’s also a huge upside with the Swapi process for brands. They get an injection of fresh tender and a boost to customer acquisition, as well as a positive message about their loyalty scheme and a reduction in unwanted loyalty cash on their balance sheet.’
Wilkinson added: “I could quickly see Swapi’s potential to provide a simple, innovative solution to loyalty’s biggest challenges, bringing benefit on all sides. The loyalty sector has been fairly static in recent times, and I think businesses and consumers will welcome the innovation that Swapi provides. An easy to use app that provides people with a bit of extra cash to spend, and more choice in the way they spend it is a winning proposition. I’m very happy to be on board with Pete and the Swapi team and look forward to some exciting times ahead.”
The Swapi app will go into beta testing this summer and will launch in the UK in the autumn.