News & Analysis

Fair Game: Former Fairfax Digital chief joins Rewardle

- July 25, 2014 3 MIN READ

Rewardle is the app that collates all of your points and earnings from the purchases you’ve made, not unlike a coffee punch card in digital format, that goes to an array of rewards.

How exactly does Rewardle tie in with one of Australia’s most prominent players in the digital landscape?

Former Fairfax Digital manager Jack Matthews has just joined Rewardle to further exploit today’s technology in the hopes of bringing Australian businesses even closer to market communities. He takes on the Chairman role alongside his own investment into the startup.

If Matthews sounds familiar, it’s because he managed Fairfax Digital’s growth into a business generating over $200 million in annual revenues before taking on the newly created Metro Media division which was formed to integrate all print, mobile and digital assets across Fairfax’s metropolitan markets (The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age and The Canberra Times).

Matthews has since departed the company and ventured into helping startups to navigate their way around the volatile digital landscape. What Matthews and Rewardle founder Ruwan Weerasooriya hope to achieve with their most recent partnership however is equipping the local business hub with vital digital engagement tools and business intelligence that was typically only available to larger retail chains. The opportunity to also unlock the power of mobile computing, cloud based software and big data analysis will also be explored.

“At Fairfax, we showed Australia’s leading brands how to use digital channels to engage with consumers; with Rewardle we’re going to help the little guy unlock the power of big data analysis, email, social and mobile marketing,” said Matthews.

“It makes sense that smaller businesses will want to follow the digital strategy path set by large retail brands but the little guys can’t match their resources and marketing sophistication. Rewardle is stepping in to service this market with tools and guidance. It is a huge opportunity and Rewardle is by far the leading player in the space.”

If there is any scepticism that the success Matthews brought to Fairfax cannot be replicated in Rewardle, it should be considered that this is not the first meeting between the pair. Matthews worked with Weerasooriya through his previous business, CafeScreen, a media business that operates a national network of digital screens and free WiFi hotspots in around 400 CBD cafes. CafeScreen was eventually sold in 2012 to media company oOh!Media and the word around Matthews joining Rewardle took place naturally thereafter.

“Fairfax brands were regular advertisers with CafeScreen and having spoken to many aspiring entrepreneurs, I was impressed with how Ruwan operated. We stayed in touch after his sale of CafeScreen and my departure from Fairfax,” said Matthews.

Weerasooriya adds, “Jack’s digital experience from Fairfax has obvious application at Rewardle but his time in the pay TV sector will also be very useful to us. I often describe the Rewardle business model as ‘Foxtel for SME marketing’. Monthly services packages coupled with pay to play features. As we start to focus on monetisation, Jack’s experience and understanding of subscription based business models will come in very handy.”

Local businesses have increasingly become a focus for large companies in the technology, media and banking segment. Companies such as Google, Facebook, Intuit and Oracle have also set their sights on the main business hub of cities.

Matthews said, “It’s going to be a competitive space but Ruwan has great vision and a strong track record when it comes to execution. Ruwan and his team are doing a fantastic job building out the product, establishing traction and rubbing out friction.”

Weerasooriya added, “We’ve been operating as a lean startup but as a small startup chasing a big prize the time was right to more aggressively stake our claim. Jack’s involvement will go a long way in validating the model and will accelerate our growth, particularly with progressing corporate partnerships.”

He added, “Having helped one of Australia’s oldest media and marketing companies transition into a digital business Jack is ideally placed to join our mission of bringing powerful digital customer engagement tech to the High St.”