Ribitt, a local tech startup focused on rewarding consumers for purchases at local shops in their neighbourhood including Peterborough, announced it has raised $600,000 in seed round funding led by angel investors to expand to new neighbourhoods with one-of-a-kind collective rewards program for local shops.
Ribitt is the first-of-its-kind to create a collective rewards program exclusively for independent merchants. Using Ribitt’s mobile app, consumers can pay for purchases and collect Ribitt points when they grab their morning coffee, get a haircut or buy holiday gifts at participating local shops. Consumers can redeem these Ribitt points at any participating shop and for the first time, users do not have to wait to to fill out a full stamp card to use their points. Every purchase no matter the shop adds to the consumer’s Ribitt points.
Ribitt currently has over thirty shops partnered in Peterborough and over one-hundred shops in Toronto. Earlier this year, Ribitt launched in Roncesvalles and The Junction neighbourhoods in Toronto. Ribitt is already seeing huge validation from merchant partners.
“The future success of local shops lies in them coming together and leveraging their combined network,” says Sana Virji, co-founder of Ribitt. “Participating in a rewards program at a single coffee shop is more effort than the value for consumers, so when local merchants in a neighbourhood join Ribitt’s single rewards program, they create huge value for their customers, while giving them the competitive advantage of scale that bigger chains have.”
Ribitt’s reward program comes at a time when neighbourhood revitalisation and preserving local commerce is a key focus for cities across North America. While there are 27 million “mom and pop” businesses in Canada and the U.S., individually they leave a small footprint and are stunted by the scale of larger retailers and service providers.
“My café and the Ribitt app launched around the same time, so it was a great opportunity to cross-promote each other starting out,” says Lindsay Brock, owner of Amusé Coffee Co. in Peterborough. “Ribitt has been wonderful in terms of gaining awareness for my business and it is a great opportunity for any business that is starting out in a new community or is trying to grow.”
As a client of the Innovation Cluster working out of its downtown incubator, Ribitt has been able to grow their team, launch their mobile app, partner with stores in Peterborough and Toronto, and now raise investment through the Peterborough Region Angel Network.
“Ribitt has provided local businesses the same loyalty advantage as major retailers, and this investment is only the beginning of the impact they will have on new communities,” says Michael Skinner, President & CEO of the Innovation Cluster. “Ribitt well-represents how digital startups can reach the global marketplace by utilizing the local resources available to them.”
Ribitt plans to begin its expansion across Canada in 2019 and is attracting interest from venture capital firms for its next funding round.