22nd November 2016 Ascension Team

Ascension makes move on digital gift cards

Ascension Ventures is pleased to announce its investment, from ASCEND SEIS Fund III, into software start-up WeGift, a platform that unlocks the value of real time digital gift cards for retailers and corporates by delivering increased sales volume and customer retention.

WeGift is the creation of Aron Alexander, a Cambridge University graduate and mobile retail entrepreneur.  Other backers in WeGift’s Seed round include Fuel Ventures, Guan Quan Investments and a number of angel investors from the marketing and payments industries.

Despite the global gift card market being valued at over $300 billion, retailers still struggle to introduce digital gift card solutions.  90% of the gift card market is still analogue, meaning that retailers are neglecting almost the entire audience of 16-25 year olds; businesses still have to order and send gift cards in the post.

WeGift solves this problem through seamless integration into all gift card processors (there are 7 processors in the UK, WeGift has agreements to integrate into 6 of these, with the 7th in discussions for a February 2017 integration) and the creation of a real-time connected network that generates eGift codes on demand from any brand.  This enables retailers to easily launch a branded digital gift card programme on their website through WeGift’s turn-key white label eCommerce solution.  Similarly, businesses can use WeGift’s API to instantly payout using any gift card brand, and save up to 15% through the discounts that retailers offer when buying in bulk through WeGift.

Aron Alexander, founder and CEO of WeGift commented:
‘With gift cards accounting for 5-8% of retailers’ top-line revenue, we have seen a real demand for innovation in what has been an important, but neglected sector.  In B2B, corporates are relieved that someone is finally solving the problem of sourcing content from multiple brands in real time.  In particular, brands are becoming more aware of the need to engage with their younger audiences and offer online experiences that are congruous with their other digital interactions. There has been a lot of excitement around being able to surprise and delight customers through personalised gifting experiences and the ability to acquire insights into purchasing behaviour.  The software is already working brilliantly for some well-known UK retailers.  This latest round of investment marks the start of an exciting phase of development for WeGift, and we’re very happy to welcome Ascension Ventures on board.”

Ascension Ventures CEO Jean de Fougerolles commented:
“I loved the idea of WeGift from the first time I met with Aron, and felt the gifting card market was huge and ripe for a digital makeover.  Aron has a clear vision of how he wants to scale the business and is one of these exceptional entrepreneurs that seems to have signed up another blue-chip client every week!” He added, “I’m also delighted to be co-investing with Fuel Ventures again and can only hope that WeGift shares a similar rocket-like growth trajectory as our last co-investment in Moteefe, exactly 12 months ago.”

Ascension Ventures will be announcing further investments from the ASCEND SEIS Fund III over the coming weeks.

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