Google backs Indian bounty payment startup Twid – TechCrunch

Twid, an Indian startup that operates a rewards-based payment platform, has raised $12 million to expand its network of merchants and issuers and expand its solution to 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 online and offline stores using their existing loyalty and reward points from banks, fintech platforms and e-commerce sites. The Bangalore-based startup’s partners include online grocery store JioMart, pharmacy NetMeds, ticketing platform Yatra and music streamer Gaana.

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“The issue has been very simple and quite big across the world, that people are getting rewards from various places, but mostly it’s been a lot like 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 effects platform for the masses. The company claims to have accumulated more than 40 million registered users.

Twid co-founders Amit Sharma, Amit Koshal and Rishi Batra (left to right). Image credits: twist

Twid brings “Pay with Rewards” option which is available on the checkout page of an online store or retailer to allow 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 leading issuers of reward points for Twid users. The platform also collects Flipkart reward points to allow users to make payments using their SuperCoins – the term the e-commerce company uses for its loyalty points.

Twid claims that, through its issuing partners, it provides access to over $1 billion in reward point pools and is present at over 50,000 merchants.

Koshal told TechCrunch that Twid controls over 5-8% of its trading partners’ total digital transactions. The startup also integrated its platform with payment gateways such as PayU, RazorPay and CCAvenue to offer the option of paying by points in several online stores.

“The idea is that we can control 80% of all rescues that take place in the country,” Koshal said. The executive also stated that merchants are actively integrating Twid’s platform because it helps them acquire customers at low cost – rather than enticing them to buy after giving discounts or refunds.

“We give a lot of intelligence back to our partners; what types of categories are doing well, what is the average order value we’ve increased for you, how many transactions per customer are we increasing for you,” Koshal said. “Furthermore, from the issuer’s point of view, the issuer has good clarity because their points are being used. »

Twid also helps its issuing partners refine their offerings by sharing high-speed reward points with customers.

“When we are integrated with all these transmitters, we have access to more than 300 million of their customers”, he said.

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Twid displays a “Pay with Rewards” option to allow users to pay using their reward points. Image credits: twist

Twid plans to use the new funds to grow its network and deepen its business, Koshal told TechCrunch. “The second is that we want to build a great team of talent. So we are growing in every department,” he said. The company currently employs 42 people.

The executive noted that there are plans to push the technology forward and “invest heavily” in data science. Sunil Gopinath, CEO of Rakuten India, joins the Board of Directors of Twid 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 own 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 experience in reward points to improve its platform.

“Whatever your [Rakuten’s] the experience is – from the type of products, platforms, etc. they built, the skills they acquired, these are the learnings that we would instill in them to build a very strong company in India to start with,” Koshal told TechCrunch.

In a statement to TechCrunch, Rakuten Capital said it sees huge market potential for India-based rewards business opportunities, and Twid is well positioned to take advantage of this opportunity to build and expand its business model.

“We also look forward to bringing our technology talent to Rakuten India, which has built the Rakuten Group’s global rewards program platforms to help Twid develop best-in-class solutions for India,” said the firm’s venture capital arm. japanese.

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 in various industries. And we are delighted to collaborate with credible 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 the most was that instead of building a closed loop system, they tried to make this thing fungible and create an open loop system. Hero Choudhary, Managing Partner at Beenext, TechCrunch said, in describing what made the Singaporean venture capital firm return to Twid from its inception.

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