Fintech Upstreet bags $3 million for mission to transform brand loyalty programs

Fintech Upstreet bags $3 million for mission to transform brand loyalty programs

Upstreet co-founders Sabine Tejerina and Christian Eckleman

Aiming to build brand loyalty through investment rewards, Sydney-based fintech Upstreet has secured $3 million in funding as it looks to add more brand partners to its platform, which already hosts the likes of Marley Spoon (ASX: MMM) and Baby Bunting (ASX: BBN).

Private equity fund Wattle Hill Capital led Upstreet's funding round, with other investors including Kelly+Partners (ASX: KPG), McKinsey & Co., Justus Hammer (CEO of MadPaws), Albert Tse (Founder of Wattle Hill Capital), Christopher Mapp (chair of Ominlab Media) and Hugh Robertson (Bell Potter).

Following an extended funding round Upstreet, which rewards customers with fractional shares every time they shop with the platform’s 400+ retail partners, will also use the capital to deliver co-marketed campaigns to new audiences and fuel its technology platform to open new investing opportunities.

“When COVID put the world on pause, that also made raising capital for a new venture more challenging,” co-founder of Upstreet Christian Eckleman said.

“Fortunately we’ve been able to showcase incredibly strong returns from our retail partners in a short period and proved our model is not only causing customers to shop more frequently with our partner brands, but customers are also spending more with these retailers.

“We want to fully democratise the world of the stock market and open new pathways for a new generation of investors. It’s a generation who aren’t waiting for the market to come to them and are embracing the idea that it’s a good thing to be invested – emotionally and financially – in the brands you believe in.”

Through the Upstreet app, shoppers can earn fractional ASX shares for each dollar spent with partnered retailers, which are then added to individual portfolios. These shares can subsequently be sold.

Existing brand partners include ASX-listed companies, international brands, and Australian private retailers. Some international partners like eBay allow users to earn tradable shares on a US stock exchange.

Customers shopping with private brands are rewarded with fractional shares in high performing exchange-traded funds (ETFs) like FANG and the ASX200.

“According to a study by Investment Trends, only 18 per cent of Australian investors are women. And yet, 70-80 per cent of the consumer purchases are done or influenced by women,” Upstreet co-founder and COO Sabine Tejerina said. 

“But this is not all of it, there are plenty of people, men and women, who do not get started with share ownership because they don’t know how, don’t have the time or the resources.

“Through Upstreet, people can earn fractional shares merely by continuing with their normal shopping habits and get their money to work harder for them.”

Tejerina believes once investors own stocks, they’re incentivised and more likely to act as owners and therefore continue to support the brands they’re investing in. She thinks this is the most exciting element of the business, and contrasts this to other loyalty programs which can be a “race to the bottom” in terms of price.

With Upstreet, Tejerina says businesses can keep the same retail price as the reward comes in the form of shares.

“Upstreet’s platform is clean, early results for partners are positive, but most importantly the idea just makes sense and there’s no one doing anything like it in Australia,” Hugh Robertson from Bell Potter said.

“Brands are fighting to secure customer loyalty and shoppers are looking to get more out of the shopping experience with the brands they already know and love; Upstreet is bridging that gap in a truly unique and rewarding way.”

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