Philippines: Venture Capital, Kickstart back $550k round in ZAP

From left, are Angelique Uy, Dustin Cheng, and Terence Lok.

ZAP Group Inc, a top rewards and loyalty programme in the Philippines, raised $550,000 in its Pre-A financing led by Venture Capital Holdings Inc, and Kickstart Ventures Inc.

In an interaction with DEALSTREETASIA, ZAP co-founder and CEO Dustin Cheng said the latest funding has brought the company’s total amount of investments to $1.4 million.

Founded in 2013, ZAP enables customers to earn reward points with just their mobile number, no apps involved, and provides merchants with a white-label loyalty solution that includes automated SMS re-marketing for non-returning customers.

ZAP plans to use the fresh capital to grow sales figures, product team development, and to make a push into the payments space.

The digital lifestyle startup claimed to have helped over 800 establishments across the Philippines since launching their own branded loyalty program.

ZAP attributes its turning point to a pivot in mid-2015, when the founders decided to change its business model from an open platform where brands shared points with each other to a closed system where points can only be used in the brand where they are earned from.

After the pivot, ZAP enjoyed a 2000 per cent rise in merchant usage of the platform.

Cheng claims his “white-label,” mobile number based approach is what separates the startup from the other companies working in the loyalty space.

“We are unique in that customers can use just their mobile number across all our merchants, instead of needing to download an app for each brand,” he said.

He cited that for ZAP, payments alone will not drive consumer adoption and that loyalty plus payments presents a stronger overall value proposition to merchants and consumers alike.

“This 2018 will be an interesting year for payments. Alibaba has entered the Philippines through an investment in Globe Telecom Inc-owned Mynt. Grab has launched Grab Pay, and there are a slew of other mobile wallets competing for attention,” Cheng added.

Also Read:

PH startup TheKard raises $373k in funding, to expand MobKard app

Philippines: Digital marketing platform AppCard raises $20m Series B led by PLDT Capital

PLDT Capital invests $1m in US-based app maker Hopscotch

Philippines: Ant Financial, Ayala take stake in Globe’s fintech unit Mynt

VC deal activity falls in the Philippines in 2017 but tech space holds promise for startup ecosystem

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.

Singapore Reporter/s

In Singapore, we are looking to double our reporting team by this year-end to comprehensively cover the fast-moving world of funded startups and VC, PE & M&A deals. We want reporters who can tell our readers what is really happening in these sectors and why it matters to markets, companies and consumers. The ability to write precisely and urgently is crucial for these roles. Ideal candidates must have to ability to work in a collaborative, dynamic, and fast-changing environment. We want our new hires to be digitally savvy and ready to experiment with new forms of storytelling. Most importantly, we are looking for hard-hitting reporters who work well in a team. Collaboration and collegiality are a must.

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).

Following vacancies can be applied for (only in Singapore).   

  • A reporter to track companies/startups that have raised private capital, and have the potential to become unicorns. SEA currently has over 40 companies with a valuation of over $100 million and under $1 billion.
  • A reporter who can get behind the scenes and reveal how funding rounds are put together, or why they’ve failed to materialise. She/he in this role will largely focus on long-format stories. 
  • A journalist to track special situations funds, distressed debt and private credit (from the PE angle) across Asia.