50 Smartest Companies Of The Year 2018

Monetize, Share, Convert: Giift, the Largest Loyalty Programs and Gift Cards Network, Continues to Rule the Market

thesiliconreview-laurent-xatart-ceo-co-founder-giift-2018“We are not just creating value for customers, but also harnessing business intelligence to help companies reach a more relevant target audience”: Laurent Xatart

Loyalty cards are a strong marketing tool that can encourage returning customers for retail businesses. Following their success, a number of other customer retainers like gift cards, prepaid cards, mileage programs, memberships, vouchers, rewards, and coupons, have been introduced by different businesses. Even though they are money-savers for customers, having too many loyalty cards has become a hassle to manage while shopping and customers tend to forget to redeem their points.

In light of the above-mentioned concern, we are thrilled to present Giift – a loyalty marketplace, where loyalty points, rewards, air miles and gift cards can be tracked, issued and exchanged. It enables loyalty program(s) to be exchanged with over 20,000 other programs in more than 55 countries. The platform connects millions of loyalty members with thousands of brands.

Giift is an open network of relationships between program issuers and members. Retailers can join the network for free and be part of the exchange network so they select the partners to work with, start to connect and engage their consumers through the network, and acquire new members needed to survive in this competitive market. It is a well-designed exchange platform that is easy for consumers to use with a back office streamlined for retailers.

The company was established in 2013 and is headquartered in Singapore. It has additional offices in New York, Wuhan (China), Nairobi, London.

Interview Excerpt: Laurent Xatart, CEO/ Co-founder

Why was the company set up? How did you select the vertical and decide to be a part of the global platform?

The company was set up was to create the largest network of loyalty programs, and to build on top of this network the first real exchange platform for loyalty points and miles. Giift has evolved in two steps:

  • Build a Loyalty Network tapping into the 1.4bn beneficiaries of Loyalty Programs: Our objective has always been to create the first global Loyalty Program Network outside of Facebook or LinkedIn. This is why since its inception; Giift was created as a global network. We continue to keep increasing our network every day, adding new programs and more program members.
  • Monetization: We (founders) hail from the financial industry, where markets always try to monetize all sort of products (loans, securities, bonds….). So, we also wanted to enable monetization of loyalty programs’ value. We knew that the loyalty program market was growing rapidly, with 1.4bn beneficiaries and an underlying value of $900bn. Some conversion or exchanges between programs do exist; however, the process to get them converted is still very premature. So, our idea was to become the first exchange platform, where anyone could process their miles/points/gift cards for conversion or exchange as they would do on the financial market.

Tell us about your first product that was launched.

We have three solutions: Loyalty Issuing (creation and issuing of a loyalty program or e-gift card) was launched in 2014; Loyalty Marketplace (exchange of loyalty programs) was launched in 2016; Loyalty Payment (mobile payment triggers points issuing and exchange) was launched in 2017.

Loyalty Issuing generated a lot of request for better redemption options, which was the initial idea of our Loyalty Marketplace…so this was very encouraging.  

What kind of responses have you received from your consumers over the years? How have they motivated you to shape your offerings/grow the company?

Our customers’ behaviour have changed tremendously in four years: at first, the idea of enabling their program (points, rewards) to be redeemed with another program (i.e. outside their own brand) was difficult to promote; but we kept doing, as we believed customer satisfaction was key. Today, the same customers ask for even more ways to redeem their points/rewards with other programs… they want hotel points, air miles, retailer gift cards, in many countries, with FX management, very much like a financial product. Next shall be Peer to Peer exchange which is starting to promote as well.

Do you have any new products ready to be/getting ready to be rolled out into the market?

H2 18 will see a significant transformation in our platform to make it fully web usable (like LinkedIn).

Where do you see your company a couple of years from now?

We target $5 to $10bn transactions in 2020 with 60 million users and 150,000 programs affiliated. We see even more integration and convergence with payment technologies.

The Brains Behind The Operation: A Brief Background

Laurent Xatart, CEO/ Co-founder: Laurent Xatart has 15 years of experience in the Benefits Industry. He served as CFO of Sodexho Pass (#2 worldwide issuer with $12 billion face value), and also Head of Business Development and M&A. Laurent also served as CFO of BR Guest, a chain restaurant in the US under buy out (Starwood Capital).

thesiliconreview-pascal-xatart-director-co-founder-giift-2018Mr Xatart holds a Master of Business Administration, Finance from European Business School.

Pascal Xatart, Director/ Co-founder: Pascal Xatart has 15 years of experience in Financial Technology. He served as CEO of Calypso Technology in San Francisco (sold to Bridgepoint and Summit Partners), as CEO of Sophis in Dublin, and MD of Linedata Services in Boston. Pascal also served 10 years as a CFO during which he IPO Le Public Système in 1998 (Paris), and Linedata Services in 2000 (Paris).

Mr Xatart holds a Master of Business Administration, Finance from European Business School.

“With Giift, no more gift cards will remain in your wallet, no more points or miles expiring or impossible to redeem, everything is in one digital wallet and ready to be exchanged and used to its full potential.”