Belfast open banking start-up LoyalBe raises €850,000

14 Apr 2021

LoyalBe's Cormac Quinn. Image: LoyalBe

The company plans to enter the Irish market with its app that links up retailers’ loyalty programmes with customers’ bank accounts.

Belfast fintech start-up LoyalBe has raised €850,000 to enter the Irish market with its loyalty app that connects retailers and consumers.

The start-up, which inked a deal with Visa late last year, has developed an app for customer loyalty programmes that uses open banking protocols.

The funding was led by Techstart Ventures with participation from Co-Fund NI and a number of angel investors.

“We intend to use the funds to build partnerships and upscale our marketing efforts within Ireland,” chief executive Cormac Quinn said.

“We have recently partnered with Visa to expand into the Irish market and this investment will allow us to accelerate our roll-out of the app to local businesses.”

LoyalBe’s platform replaces loyalty cards and QR codes with an app that links up with a customer’s bank account. When customers spend with their debit card, the app tots up their loyalty rewards.

LoyalBe takes advantage of open banking to connect users’ traditional bank details with new digital banking and shopping services. The space has been heating up lately with some large funding rounds and recently Irish open banking firm Sentenial was acquired for €110m.

The Belfast start-up is targeting its solution at smaller independent retailers, many of which have been hard hit by lockdowns and a drop in footfall. As restrictions ease and shops reopen, it is hoped that the app could help retailers attract customers back to brick-and-mortar stores.

Quinn said that LoyalBe helps retailers build their own loyalty programmes while also gathering insights on customer spending.

“It is extremely important to rally behind local businesses. With LoyalBe, we are encouraging customers to shop local and invest in the local economy,” he said.

“Our app helps businesses to create and engage with more loyal customers to drive repeat sales and we’re delighted to be supporting many local businesses already.”

Jonathan Keane is a freelance business and technology journalist based in Dublin