These days, it feels like pretty much everything is in the cloud. But check your wallet. Or your kitchen drawer. Bet you all the coffee in Brighton that there’s an unused gift card in there, gathering dust.
That’s where Brighton and Hove-based market challengers Reward Cloud come in. They’re a digital gift card network, using best-in-class technology to shake up a truly dated market, and make it easier, cheaper and ten times more valuable for companies to offer rewards, gift cards and cashback to their fans and customers.
To consumers, an unused card may just be part of the household clutter. But to brands, it’s much more nuanced than that. From unused stock to expiry issues and problems with fulfilment planning, physical gift cards represent a problem that needs solving.
The story so far
Co-founders Gareth Gillatt and Alex Preece may have made their mark in the cloud, but their feet (and beginnings) are firmly on the ground. Alex has an army background, and both are ex-consultancy, which is where Reward Cloud sprung from.
The original idea was to help people sell their unwanted gift cards, but the pair soon realised that, whilst the dated outlook of the reward/incentive industry was showing up in kitchen drawers, the root problem and potential lay with the B2B sector. Brands and ‘partners’ (the companies giving away the gift cards), needed a better way to connect, supply and see incentives being used and reordered.
The Reward Cloud founders saw an opportunity to optimise the market by putting the essential information in the cloud, developing an API to help automate gift card management. Simply put, they’re helping brands, customers and partners ditch the plastic and manage gift cards onto their phone, laptop or whatever device suits them best.
It’s all in the domain name
So far, Reward Cloud have rebranded twice. It demonstrates their agility in a world that’s constantly shifting, with brands now reviewing their incentive marketing strategy every business quarter. What’s stuck though is the does-what-it-says-on-the-tin name, and the young company was thrilled to be one of the very first to bag the reward.cloud domain name to match.
Realising that the classic domain name choices were not available and were going to be quite an investment to buy, Alex, also CCO, Gareth and team went into research mode to find the perfect match. Stumbling across the announcement for the fresh release of the .cloud domain name, the team came up with Reward Cloud - a unique and distinct address online. Alex goes further to say:
"We’re so lucky that in the day and age we live in, it’s never been cheaper to buy a domain. It’s never been cheaper to get cloud-based hosting. You just need a laptop, a phone, an idea and tons and tons of drive, and you can just get going. The world is your audience."
Often, the tools to get started are simple. Good people, looking for the quick wins, and a solid brand are must-haves for Alex, and with a matching domain to build out from,
“There’s (almost) no barrier to starting a digital company.”
Brighton’s success story
The reward.cloud domain had its first anniversary in February 2017, and business is booming for the boys and their brands. With zero hours of dreaded ‘downtime’ to date and millions being processed in face-value gift cards, it’s no surprise the network has drawn attention from some high-profile investors. On the list are venture capital firm Passion Capital and Paul Forster, founder and CEO of indeed.com, plus signed deals with Quidco and Park Group plc.
Based on the Brighton-Hove border, Reward Cloud have great access not just to potential partners and clients, but the all-important talent it takes to build and maintain their enviable API. So platform aside, they’ve also been busy creating a digital-first office setup, to go with their bright-new-thing reputation on the local startup scene. It’s all coconut water, premium coffee and anti-ivory tower as you’d expect, nestled in amongst a hot bed of other startups and challenger companies.
Asked what’s on the cards for their gift and incentive challenger brand, Alex is full of future thinking:
“We share the same goal, which is to float a company on the stock market. Will this be the business that becomes big enough to do that? We hope so.”
Alex wants Reward Cloud’s connectivity to power all instant gift cards across Europe and beyond, just as Visa and MasterCard have done for payments. Oh, and he’s aiming for the platform to process £1 billion plus within the next three years.
Big goals. But someone’s got to do it, and reading the story so far, our money’s on the boys at Reward Cloud.