Upstreet, a fintech that rewards shoppers with fractional shares in the ASX, NYSE and NASDAQ listed companies, has raised $3 million in Seed-plus funding.
The round was led by Wattle Hill Capital supported by new backers Kelly+Partners Investment Office, McKinsey & Co. Partners and private investors including MadPaws CEO Justus Hammer, Wattle Hill Capital founder Albert Tse, Ominlab Media chair Christopher Mapp and Bell Potter’s Hugh Robertson.
The cash is earmarked to bring in new partners and deliver co-marketed campaigns, as well as upgrading the technology platform
The Upstreet app lets shoppers earn fractional ASX and US shares for each dollar spent with partnered retailers as part of brand loyalty. Users can sell their shares when they want.
More than 400 retail and service partners are now on the platform, from Marley Spoon to eBay.
Founder Christian Ecklemann said one food retail partner on the platform saw a 36% increase in customer spending and 48% reduction in customer churn.
“We want to fully democratise the world of the stock market and open new pathways for a new generation of investors,” he said.
“It’s a generation who aren’t waiting for the market to come to them and are embracing the idea that it’s a good thing to be invested – emotionally and financially – in the brands you believe in.”
Ecklemann said the following an extended funding round due to the COVID pandemic, the Sydney based fintech is calling this their seed-plus round.
“When COVID put the world on pause, that also made raising capital for a new venture more challenging,” he said.
“Fortunately we’ve been able to showcase incredibly strong returns from our retail partners in a short period and proved our model is not only causing customers to shop more frequently with our partner brands, but customers are also spending more with these retailers.”
Investor Hugh Robertson said Upstreet was simple to use and unlike any other loyalty offering in Australia.
“Brands are fighting to secure customer loyalty and shoppers are looking to get more out of the shopping experience with the brands they already know and love; Upstreet is bridging that gap in a truly unique and rewarding way,” he said.
Wattle Hill Capital’s Albert Tse said Upstreet had moved beyond retail to developing sophisticated employee rewards programs that showcase “the versatility and opportunity of the startup”.
Co-founder and COO Sabine Tejerina said the business also offered a great way for women to become shareholders.
“According to a study by Investment Trends, only 18% of Australian investors are women. And yet, 70-80% of the consumer purchases are done or influenced by women,” she said.
“Through Upstreet, people can earn fractional shares merely by continuing with their normal shopping habits and get their money to work harder for them.”
The Upstreet app is available on iOS and Android as well as a Google Chrome extension.