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.

Banneya London nominated for Digital Innovation at the Walpole British Luxury Awards

 

Established in 2001, the Walpole British Luxury Awards are a celebration of exceptional brands and individuals that make the luxury industry the world-leader it is today. The awards were created to honour those who demonstrate excellence in the luxury sector within Britain – where the luxury industry is now worth over £32 billion.

The Walpole British Luxury Awards will take place on Monday 14th of November at The Dorchester.

The event is co-hosted by Walpole CEO Michelle Emmerson, with winners selected by an esteemed judging panel of luxury leaders led by Michael Ward, MD of Harrods and Chairman of Walpole and including Lucia van der Post, Sarah Anderson, (Head of Brand & Partnerships, GREAT Britain Campaign), Peter Ting, Gillian de Bono (FT How to Spend It), Marcus Waring (Restaurateur), and Richard Carter (Rolls-Royce Motor Cars).

The shortlist is as follows:

British Luxury Brand of the Year, in association with Laurent-Perrier
Charlotte Olympia
Charlotte Tilbury
Jimmy Choo
Princess Yachts
Ralph & Russo

Best British Cultural Experience, in association with London Advertising
Fashioning a Reign exhibitions at Her Majesty The Queen’s official residences
Royal Ascot Ladies Day
Tate Modern
Vogue 100 exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery
World of Wedgwood

The Champion of British Luxury Manufacturing, in association with G.F Smith
Bremont
Ettinger
Holland & Holland
Mulberry
Sunseeker

Best British Luxury Craftsmanship
Johnstons of Elgin
Nyetimber
Rolls-Royce Motor Cars
Savoir Beds
Simon Rogan
Soane Britain

Digital Innovation in British Luxury
Anya Hindmarch
Banneya London
Bentley
Burberry
Magic Mirror

The Champion of British Luxury Overseas, in association with Freight Brokers
Bremont
Jaguar Land Rover
Johnnie Walker
Soho House Group
Stella McCartney

The Champion of British Luxury Sustainability, in association with Premier Tax Free
Burberry
Erdem
Grosvenor
House of St Barnabas
Rêve en Vert

The prestigious Leader in Luxury and Outstanding Achievement in British Luxury category winners will be revealed on the night, as will the Walpole 2016 Emerging British Luxury Talents, in association with Mishcon de Reya. Last year’s winners included Victoria Beckham, Goodwood, Charlotte Olympia and Valentino, with the Best Luxury Brand Ambassador award presented to Charlotte Olympia, by British Fashion Model and Writer, Laura Bailey.

 

http://www.thewalpole.co.uk/node/831

Ascension Backs Content Marketing AI, Concured

Ascension is pleased to announce its investment from the ASCEND SEIS Fund III into Concured, a predictive artificial intelligence platform for content marketers that helps solve one of the biggest issues in the $150b industry: “what do I write about to engage my audience”.

Additional backers in the Concured’s round include a list of value-added angels: Potential VC (Doug Scott), Steve Pankhurst (Founder, Friends Reunited), Kerry Ritz (former Managing Director, Mass Challenge), and Phil Wilkinson (Founder, Kelkoo).

Concured has on-boarded a number of clients including Nationwide, Barclays, and TSB.  The company is in late-stage discussions with multiple organisations that are seeking real data on what is contextually engaging their audience and what topics they should create content on next.  The technology Concured uses enables them to gather unstructured data from the customers’ website, publishers and social channels, and gives them contextual meaning.  Then, using a proprietary algorithm and billions of data points, it notices upward trends and displays the guidance in a simple to navigate, but rich dashboard.

Tom Salvat, Founder and CEO of Concured commented:
“I have been working in this industry for over 6 years and truly believe Concured will solve the problem of miscommunication between companies and their audiences.  I see Concured as the missing central puzzle piece that connects all companies together and creates a more transparent and effective content market.  I am delighted to have Ascension on-board pushing us to the next level, with their strategic input and access to multiple potential distribution partners.”

Jean de Fougerolles, CEO of Ascension Ventures added:
“I am tremendously impressed by the way Concured has progressed, they have already won key blue-chip clients in the past few months and have a great pipeline of qualified leads.  It’s always exciting and rewarding when a business, like Concured, starts off on its own and accelerates quickly.  We are excited to be co-investing alongside some great angels and Potential VC, who will add a lot of value on the companies product development with their proven tech expertise, particularly with machine learning.”

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

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