Twid, an Indian startup operating a rewards-based payment platform, has raised $12 million to expand its network of merchants and issuers and expand its solution into the South Asian market.
Rakuten Capital led the startup’s Series A, which also saw participation from Google and existing investors including Sequoia Surge and Beenext.
Twid allows customers to pay in offline and online stores using their existing loyalty and reward points from banks, fintech platforms and e-commerce websites. The Bangalore-based start-up’s partners include online grocer JioMart, drugstore NetMeds, ticketing platform Yatra and music streamer Gaana.
“The problem has been very simple and quite large across the world, that people have been getting rewards from multiple places, but mostly it’s been very similar to a locked asset,” said Amit Koshal, Founder and CEO of Twid. , in an interview with TechCrunch.
Koshal founded Twid with Rishi Batra and Amit Sharma in 2020 to build a network effect platform for the masses. The company claims to have amassed over 40 million registered users.
Twid brings a “Pay with Rewards” option which is available on the payment page of an online store or at a retailer allowing customers to redeem their reward points for their purchases. Reward points, in this case, can come from a list of issuers, and users can choose which loyalty program or reward points they want to redeem.
IndusInd Bank, Payback and InterMiles are some of the major issuers of reward points for Twid users. The platform also collects reward points from Flipkart to allow users to make payments using their SuperCoins – the term the e-commerce company uses for its loyalty points.
Twice claims that through its issuing partners, it provides access to over $1 billion in reward point pools and has a presence with over 50,000 merchants.
Koshal told TechCrunch that Twid controls more than 5-8% of its merchant partners’ total digital transactions. The startup has also integrated its platform with payment gateways such as PayU, RazorPay, and CCAvenue to offer the rewards points payment option on several online stores.
“The idea is that we can control 80% of all redemptions that happen in the country,” Koshal said. The executive also claimed that merchants rely on Twid’s platform because it helps them acquire customers at low cost — instead of enticing them to make purchases after giving discounts or cashback.
“We give back a lot of intelligence to our partners; what types of categories are doing good, what is the average order value we’ve increased for you, how many transactions per customer we’re increasing for you,” Koshal said. “Also, from the emitter’s point of view, the emitter has good clarity because it’s their points that are being used. »
Twid also helps its issuing partners refine their offerings by sharing quick-loss reward points with customers.
“When we are integrated with all these transmitters, we have access to over 300 million customers from them,” he said.
Twid plans to use the new funds to grow its network and deepen the business, Koshal told TechCrunch. “The second is that we want to build a great team of moonshot talent. So we are growing in all departments,” he said. The company currently employs 42 people.
The executive noted that there are plans to bolster technology and “invest heavily” in data science. Sunil Gopinath, CEO of Rakuten India, has joined Twid’s board on behalf of Rakuten Capital.
“Rakuten Capital sees tremendous potential and future synergies in this investment. As our global membership products are developed here in Bengaluru by Rakuten India, I am delighted to join the Twid Board and look forward to working with Amit Koshal, Rishi Batra, Amit Sharma and their very team competent to transform the way reward points are viewed and used in India,” Gopinath said in a prepared statement.
Twid plans to leverage Rakuten’s expertise in reward points to improve its platform.
“Whatever their [Rakuten’s] expertise, that is from the type of products, platforms, etc., that they have built, skills that they have acquired, those are the learnings that we would instill from them to build a very strong in India to start,” Koshal told TechCrunch.
In a statement to TechCrunch, Rakuten Capital said it saw huge market potential for reward rewards business opportunities in India, and Twid was well set to take advantage of this opportunity to build and grow its business model.
“We also look forward to bringing our technology talents to Rakuten India, which has integrated Rakuten Group’s global rewards program platforms to help Twid develop best-in-class solutions for India,” said the venture capital arm of the Japanese company.
Along with Rakuten, the addition of Google should help Twid expand its model for customers to make purchases using their multiple reward points.
“Google has a long history of investing in early-stage startups across a variety of industries. And we are very happy to collaborate with believable players like them on this journey,” said Koshal.
In July of last year, Twid raised $2.5 million in funding led by Beenext and Sequoia’s Surge. “What we liked when we met the team and what stood out to us was that rather than building a closed loop system, they tried to make that choice fungible and create an open loop system. Hero Choudhary, managing partner of Beenext, told TechCrunch, while describing what made the Singaporean venture capital firm back Twid since its inception.