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Punchh & Sapphire Ventures: Partners in Improving Customer Loyalty and Engagement for Brick-and-Mortar Retailers

Punchh & Sapphire Ventures: Partners in Improving Customer Loyalty and  Engagement for Brick-and-Mortar Retailers
Growth Insights / January 19, 2021
Written by , Jai Das

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.

Read the case study here


Disclaimer: Nothing presented within this article is intended to constitute investment advice, and under no circumstances should any information provided herein be used or considered as an offer to sell or a solicitation of an offer to buy an interest in any investment fund managed by Sapphire Ventures, LLC (“Sapphire”). Information provided reflects Sapphires’ views as of a time, whereby such views are subject to change at any point and Sapphire shall not be obligated to provide notice of any change. Nothing contained in this article may be relied upon as a guarantee or assurance as to the future success of any particular company. Portfolio company mentioned in this article and used in Sapphire case study is specific to the criteria which the author has selected, which do not reflect all investments made by Sapphire. The criteria selected is non-performance based and no inference otherwise should be made otherwise. A complete alphabetical list of Sapphires’ investments made by its direct growth and sports investing strategies is available here. Various content and views contained within this article represent those of third party guests, which do not necessarily reflect the views of Sapphire. Such views are subject to change at any point and do not in any way represent official statements by Sapphire. Various statements made by third party guests about Sapphire relate to the nature and type of management services provided by Sapphire and do not constitute testimonials to Sapphires’ investment advisory services and no inference to the contrary should be made. Sapphire does not solicit or make its services available to the public and none of the funds are currently open to new investors. While the Sapphire has used reasonable efforts to obtain information from reliable sources, we make no representations or warranties as to the accuracy, reliability, or completeness of third-party information presented herein, which is subject to change. Past performance is not indicative of future results.