EMERYVILLE, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--A team of payments and retail experts today formally announced Marqeta - an online-to-offline payments and commerce platform that makes the successful Starbucks loyalty model possible for nearly every merchant in the country, without any new software or hardware at the point of sale.
For the first time ever, consumers can keep unlimited merchant accounts on one payment card. Whereas Starbucks gives consumers points and product rewards, Marqeta merchants give consumers more money to spend. For example, grocery stores give up to seven percent extra, restaurants 10 to 15 percent and other retailers even more. With Marqeta, consumers no longer have to keep track of multiple deal vouchers, loyalty programs or gift cards – they all sit on one card. Marqeta’s model has the potential not only to transform everyday loyalty, but to also help retailers address broader issues like “showrooming,” online-to-offline engagement and more.
Finally, large enterprises also use Marqeta’s platform to create and enhance a variety of marketing and rewards programs such as digitized employee rewards and optimized donation campaigns.
“Starbucks turned loyalty on its head, rewarding consumers for paying in advance for their coffee. At Marqeta, we’ve extended that model to every other consumer and merchant relationship – the grocery store, dry cleaners, restaurants and more,” said Marqeta Founder and CEO Jason Gardner. “And, we’ve put it all on one simple, extremely powerful card and mobile app.”
Founded in 2010, Marqeta has raised more than $7.3 million in funding from Greylock Partners, Granite Ventures and a handful of seasoned angel investors. In its first 18 months, the team focused on building, from the ground up, a unique payments platform in which Marqeta would serve as card issuer, transaction processor and marketing platform. Marqeta then partnered with Discover to plug into its national network and launch its platform in the San Francisco Bay Area in January 2012. Said Jeff Lewis, Director of Alternative Payments and Prepaid at Discover, “The Marqeta team has built something that can add value to many constituents, including merchants and consumers – it’s great to see solutions like this gaining traction in the market.”
Gardner explained, “We based our technology on two key hypotheses – consumers will always be more loyal to their own money than to any given brand, while merchants will always be willing to reward shoppers who commit dollars before they walk in the door. After nearly nine months in the Bay Area and with more than 250 merchants signed on, we’ve proven these theories to be true and are focused on scaling our platform quickly and broadly.”
“Marqeta built a platform for the challenges consumers, merchants and enterprises are actually facing today,” said Chris McKay of Granite Ventures. “And, by putting a digital wallet on a piece of plastic, Marqeta's platform taps into a ubiquitous form of payment that is already accepted at virtually every POS (Point of Sale) device.”
For Consumers: A Smarter Way to Shop
Consumers load money into merchant-specific accounts through marqeta.com or the mobile app. For instance, if they load $40 to spend at a favorite restaurant, immediately that money is worth more as the merchant gives them extra money to spend, say an extra $10 – bringing their total balance to $50. Marqeta then sends them a free Marqeta Card to pay for goods and services at the point of sale of participating merchants and for all future Marqeta transactions. Marqeta’s technology knows where the consumer is spending and how much money to debit from a merchant-specific account. In addition, consumers can set most of Marqeta’s offers to automatically reload once their balance has reached a given level. Consumers can effectively “lock in” a 5-25 percent ongoing return on their everyday spend, earning $1,000 or more in extra money over the course of a year. Marqeta users can load money with a credit or debit card so they can continue to keep their points, miles or cash back rewards. Also, the consumer’s money is always protected from merchant default in FDIC insured accounts.
For Merchants: A Smarter Way to Use Marketing Dollars
Marqeta helps merchants attract, retain and engage consumers more effectively than traditional advertising, marketing and “earn as you go” loyalty programs. Through Marqeta’s platform, merchants secure new revenue from consumers before they decide where to shop. This allows merchants to capture earlier and greater wallet share, which encourages repeat visits and larger transaction sizes, as customers tend to spend beyond their prepaid funds. While digital coupons and discounts may incent someone to walk into one store versus another, Starbucks demonstrated that if a consumer has already dedicated money to a particular merchant, a path to purchase is all but guaranteed.
“We went out and asked merchants how much a consumer’s dollar is worth to them, and were surprised to hear that in many cases it was worth a lot more on an ongoing basis,” continued Gardner. A turnkey loyalty solution, Marqeta is seamless for merchants to use, as they do not need to make any changes to their point-of-sale systems, staff processes or accounting procedures. The merchant receives consumer funds when a Marqeta Card is swiped at the point of sale. Because Marqeta processes the transactions, it generates an enormous amount of highly relevant transaction and engagement data that it shares with merchant partners.
“Marqeta has been an incredible driver of loyalty and new sales for us. Long term customers are not only coming in more often because they are getting extra money to spend, but they’re also spending more with each visit,” added Kelly Augustin, owner of United Markets in San Rafael, Calif.
For Large Enterprises: A Smarter Way to Add Value to Membership
Beyond the consumer and merchant experiences, Marqeta has created the +M Platform to serve the needs of large enterprises, memberships and other affinity groups. Ranging from employee discount programs to membership rewards and from school fundraising to local city support, the +M Platform offers an entirely new approach to rewarding employees, supporters, fans, members, customers and prospects.
Marqeta Management Team
Marqeta is led by a team of payments veterans that include:
- Jason Gardner, Founder and CEO – Gardner founded Marqeta in 2010 after a successful career in the payments space. Prior to Marqeta he co-founded and served as president at PropertyBridge – a leading provider of rent payment platforms for property managers. MoneyGram International (MGI) acquired PropertyBridge and after the acquisition, Gardner served as vice-president. At PropertyBridge and MoneyGram, Jason led the company's long-term market strategies for multifamily real estate electronic payment processing.
- Omri Dahan, Chief Revenue Officer – Dahan is a lifelong entrepreneur with a strong track record of bringing transformational ideas and businesses to life. Prior to Marqeta, he was CEO of clean tech innovator TerraFusion, and before that he was a Partner at boutique consulting firm, The Trium Group, where he founded the New York and London offices while serving clients in the Financial Services, Consumer, Retail and Telecom sectors. Dahan’s earlier ventures include stints at The Republic of Tea, Calvert Group, and OneBody.com.
- Eric Bachman, Chief Operating Officer – Bachman has been championing innovative financial, loyalty, and payment solutions for decades. Most recently, he was the founder and CEO of Golden Gateway Financial where he created a powerful web-service that allowed seniors to find and manage the best financial retirement tools. Previously he played key roles as an executive, in product development, product management, marketing, sales and operations with U.S. Bank, Wells Fargo, NextCard, BankServ, CES and others.
Founded in 2010, Marqeta is an online-to-offline payments and commerce platform that gives consumers more money for the things they buy everyday, enables merchants to capture repeat business and greater customer spend, and empowers large enterprises to better serve their constituents by participating in the payment stream of relevant transactions. The company is headquartered in Emeryville, Calif.