The corporate venture capital arms of National Australia Bank and Westpac have led a $2 million seed funding round into Sydney ‘smart receipt’ start-up Slyp.
The technology provided by Slyp – previously known as Ping Data – captures a shopper’s itemised purchase data from a store’s point of sale software and pushes it to the customer’s mobile and online banking apps as an ‘interactive smart receipt’.
As well as offering convenience for consumers, Slyp says its smart receipts present ‘new propositions’ for merchants and retailers such as the ability to include warranty alerts, special offers, returns reminders or user manuals.
It also promises to alleviate the significant environmental and public health costs associated with paper receipts.
“It feels like you can tap anything these days to make a payment and do it seamlessly. But at the end of the transaction we still receive these centuries old cumbersome paper receipts. They’ve kind of been left behind in the evolution of technology. As everything has migrated into the smart world we’re still getting these analog paper receipts,” Slyp co-founder and CEO Paul Weingarth told CIO Australia.
“They’re a pain for customers, and they’re a missed opportunity for merchants and retailers – we can turn the end of that transaction into the start of a relationship and engagement opportunity,” he said.
Over the past year NAB has run a proof of concept using Slyp with a handful of merchants and a few hundred customers. In the coming months the start-up will announce launch merchants and “additional strategic partnerships to help Slyp turbo-charge their merchant acquisition nationally”.
The availability of Slyp smart receipts will begin with NAB business banking customer merchants and app-users in 2019.
Weingarth said the technology works by establishing a “data pipe from the merchant’s POS” which includes what was purchased and product level information, as well as the electronic funds transfer payload.
The data is used to “automatically match, without touching any card or sensitive data, using other unique identifiers that are dynamic and not specific to that customer to match that with the bank, to find out where to send the receipt and what customer to send it to”.
Although NAB will be the first major bank partner to roll-out Slyp, Westpac is expected to follow suit shortly after. Despite the investment round being led by NAB Ventures and Westpac Reinventure, it is hoped Slyp will become a utility used across all banks.
“We are relatively invisible to the customer, we augment and enhance NAB’s existing channel and that opens up distribution to their millions of app users and then ultimately that’s the driving force to bring merchants onto the network,” Weingarth said.
“We’re engaging with all the banks. We’ll be rolling this out to the other banks sooner rather than later,” he added.
Through its bank partnerships, Slyp’s goal is to reach more than 7 million Australians by the end of next year.
Slyp boasts a number of Australian payments technology figures: Weingarth was previously head of strategic partnerships, business development, at PayPal ANZ; CTO Spiros Rokos was Paypal ANZ’s head of sales engineering for more than a decade, while chief data officer Mike Boyd was previously group data officer at ANZ bank.
NAB Ventures’ managing director Todd Forest and Westpac Reinventure managing director Danny Gilligan have each joined the company board as part of the investment. The Slyp board will be chaired by Stuart Harker, formerly global lead advisory partner for retail and consumer goods at Price Waterhouse Coopers.
While NAB has offered customers the ability to view merchant details and contact information from its banking app, Slyp “goes to another level, 10 times deeper” Forest said.
“We see great upside in this solution from both a retail customer point of view, but also for small business customers, particularly for reducing the administration burden around taxation requirements,” Forest said.
“We’re the foundational partner and will be the first to roll it out. But there’s a network effect so it needs to be broader than just NAB customers and merchants,” he added.
Westpac Reinventure’s Gilligan, said: “Connectivity of data across industry sectors is an important and valuable problem to solve.
“Slyp have been able to do that in a way which materially enhances consumer experiences and delivers real value for merchants and banks at the same time. We are thrilled to be on the journey with the team at Slyp and excited by the opportunities that lay ahead.”
In September, NAB announced it was doubling down on its $50 million venture capital fund by adding another $50 million to the pot over the next two years. Slyp joins around a dozen start-ups which have received the backing of NAB Ventures since it waslaunched in 2015.
Westpac in May committed a further $50 million to Reinventure. It has invested in around 20 companies since it was established five years ago.