Punchh & Sapphire Ventures: Partners in Improving Customer Loyalty and Engagement for Brick-and-Mortar Retailers
When Punchh was founded in 2010, many retail technology trends were just beginning to take off. Consumers were moving towards mobile, cloud computing was picking up speed, and analysts were heralding the consumerization of IT. As innovation in retail was reaching new heights online and via mobile channels Punchh co-founders Shyam Rao and Sastry Penumarthy saw that innovation had stalled for the in-store experience.
While omnichannel was a popular buzzword, delivering a connected consumer experience remained difficult for brick-and-mortar businesses. Shyam and Sastry believed that they could build a solution that improved the in-store experience by digitizing a customer’s identity and preferences based on their in-store interactions. With the creation of Punchh, the co-founders developed a personalized marketing product that revolutionized the in-store channel responsible for roughly 90% of traffic.
At Sapphire Ventures, we were believers in Punchh, Shyam, Sastry and the entire team early on. That’s why in 2018, we led Punchh’s Series B round. Soon after, we reiterated our commitment to Punchh’s product and vision by leading the company’s Series C financing in 2019.
Since 2018, we’ve been teaming up with Punchh to provide services across a variety of different disciplines. Our talent team helped Punchh find several key team members including the company’s CRO, chief of staff, president of finance and a strategic advisor to the firm. We also helped Punchh think through and successfully staff Punchh’s engineering hub for artificial intelligence based in Toronto. In addition, our business development team introduced Punchh to a number major brands, connecting them to the SAP ecosystem and making critical deal interventions.
“Sapphire has facilitated numerous introductions to partners and potential customers for us,” says CEO Shyam Rao. “The team always makes a point of putting Punchh in front of the best and most important brands that we could be selling to.”
Today, in the U.S. alone, 160 million consumers engage with the Punchh platform through the brands that it works with. The company’s portfolio of customers operate almost 95,000 locations and Punchh has visibility into data on billions of dollars of commerce that occur at those locations, whether in-store or online.
For more than three years, we’ve had the opportunity to partner with the Punchh team, and we couldn’t be more excited about our journey together. To learn more about our partnership, read the following case study.
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