Dec 1, 2016
Gareth Gillatt, co-founder of the Brighton-based digital gift card network, reveals what attracted them to the gift card industry and what's in the pipeline for 2017.
How did the business start?
Having worked together for a number of years within the digital world we (myself and Alex) used our previous business successes and our own personal funds to set up what is now Reward Cloud as of March 2016.
What attracted you to the gift card industry and what opportunities did you spot?
We felt that the potential of digital gift cards was being under utilised and wanted to create a platform that allowed brands to enhance their digital gift card programme while making it easier for third parties to promote digital. The single most important opportunity was allowing the end customer to see, buy, receive and redeem a digital gift card in real- ‐time.
Was there a light bulb moment?
We were sat in a voluntary benefits provider's office listening to the numerous complaints about their gift cards being misplaced or undelivered. We then quickly realised that technology could help streamline these processes and allow third parties to concentrate on their core business rather than continually fire- ‐fighting customer complaints.
Where are you based?
By the seaside, in Hove (actually).
How has the business developed?
While our strategic vision has remained quite constant (create a global infrastructure for real time open value digital gift cards) our business has evolved into a pure technology company. Allowing partners and brands to work directly.
The success of Reward Cloud hinges on our ability to build robust and reliable tech that can scale internationally. Therefore, we've recruited lots of software engineers to help add all the features to our constantly evolving platform.
What are your biggest challenges in business?
Recruitment -‐ finding and retaining talent is always a challenge but especially as a technology company. Also, when you're the first to market with a unique proposition; resisting the temptation to constantly build and deploying new features is a challenge. You have to stay laser focused on what your partners and the market requires rather than your own personal preferences. The other big challenge is scaling the business to accommodate the volume our partners can drive. There is a certain expectation that our technology is constantly available especially given we’re already doing millions in face value sales.
How do you attract talented staff?
Firstly, you need to be building an exciting and innovative business otherwise the very best engineers won't join. Thankfully it feels as though this is the case but vitally important is creating an atmosphere where everybody contributes to the overall strategic vision. We really are a close- ‐knit team and so it's imperative that everyone has the same work ethic as well as a friendly and sociable personality. Also it helps we have an endless offering of juices, coconut water, treats and tea!
What’s in the pipeline?
We have some really big partnerships both here in the UK and Europe going live early next year. This will validate our business model and give comfort to the industry that we’re building something that can be utilised by a variety of partners. We’ve also built a number of insight tools as well as redesigned the Reward Cloud dashboard to improve usability.
What are you proudest of?
Getting live! Developing software is one thing but it's another thing getting live and servicing brands and partners. That said, we're really proud of our team as they've helped us realise our vision that is Reward Cloud.
What problem do you solve?
Brands can grow, monitor and optimise their digital gift card programme. Partners can streamline their systems and processes.
Customers can enjoy instant gratification and an enhanced buying experience.
What makes you different?
Our technology is championing the use of digital gift cards across multiple channels by creating a platform that is easily accessible and cost effective. In time we aim to become the defacto technology provider for the procurement of digital gift cards.
For more information, visit www.reward.cloud.
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