NPIF Maven Equity Finance has invested £750,000 as part of a £1m investment round in Airtime Rewards. Funding will be to used to strengthen sales and customer service functions creating 12 new jobs in the next year.
Airtime is an innovative digital customer loyalty programme which enables shoppers to be rewarded, with a unique reward currency, that can be converted into a monetary credit on their mobile phone account or for additional mobile data. Airtime will use the funding to expand the business by strengthening its sales and customer services functions, as well as implement further developments to its infrastructure and market-disruptive technology platform.
Established by two entrepreneurs, Adam Ward and Josh Graham, Airtime’s disruptive technology solution removes the need to carry multiple loyalty cards and instead intelligently capitalises on two of the most commonly carried items – an individual’s mobile phone and their bank card. This has created a linear, and unobtrusive loyalty scheme which provides instant rewards, at no inconvenience, for the customer. Airtime effectively removes the need for multiple loyalty cards, cashback accounts or promo codes, and instead rewards customers through everyday transactions made on their debit or credit cards.
With many recognised retail chains already signed up, such as Waitrose, Missguided and Sunglass Hut, the solution rewards members every time they transact with their linked payment cards. Instead of collecting points, consumers receive a monetary credit back to their mobile account or can opt to take additional mobile phone data.
James Darlington, Investment Manager at Maven, said: “We are delighted to support Airtime in realising its growth strategy. The company’s offering is exciting and innovative - allowing users to transact and redeem their rewards easily and in a way that best suits their lifestyles. Adam and Josh have worked tirelessly, achieving a great deal of success within a short time-frame and with minimal resources. They have positioned the business well and this investment will allow them to fast track the company’s performance. We look forward to working with them to drive the business over the next few years.”
Adam Ward, CEO at Airtime, added: “2017 was a pivotal year for our business when we were able to prove that there is a clear consumer and retailer demand for our technology, giving us a solid platform for growth. It has been great to find an investor in our home city of Manchester which shares our vision and we are looking forward to working with Maven to take our business to the next stage.”
Ken Cooper, Managing Director at British Business Bank, said: “It is great to see NPIF investment supporting innovative businesses like Airtime. This funding will help them grow through developing their pioneering technology platform. NPIF aims to support small and medium businesses across the North and so I’d encourage other entrepreneurs with growth plans to get in touch with our fund managers and find out more.”
The Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund project is supported financially by the European Union using funding from the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) as part of the European Structural and Investment Funds Growth Programme 2014-2020 and the European Investment Bank.