Ex-eBay exec-founded loyalty programme provider Wildfire Systems reels in $15m

E-commerce startup that powers cashback for online social sharing recommendations Wildfire Systems landed $15m in its first round of venture capital funding co-led by TTV Capital and QED Investors.

In addition to TVV Capital, QED Investors, other new investors included B Capital, the George Kaiser Family Foundation and Daher Capital. They were joined by existing investors Mucker Capital, Bonfire Ventures, Moonshot Capital and BAM Ventures. Prior to this latest funding, Wildfire had raised $4.5m in seed capital.

The latest endeavour of former eBay executive Jordan Glazier, Wildfire will use the money to accelerate the rollout of its white-label software suite that allows businesses to embed its novel rewards platform into their online infrastructure.

The company’s goal is to harness the power of digital word-of-mouth referrals in a rewards platform — essentially letting users earn commissions for product recommendations that they shared over the Internet via social media, email and text messages. Wildfire contends that its white-label platform can be an alternative, delivering technology to power rewards programs via cashback, digital coupons and incentives for social sharing in a relatively short timeframe.

Its first product was a mobile app called Wildlink, which debuted three years ago. App users who like a product or service could copy and send a link to their friends from a network of thousands of merchants. If someone opens the link and buys, the app automatically delivers cashback to the person making the referral.

Glazier said, “We are bringing next-generation technology that captures and rewards people for everyday online shopping and social sharing. When we look at the technologies that we bring to bear, they are across desktop and mobile, web and app. We have six issued patents, which is a decent indicator that we are building interesting and unique technologies.”

The platform targets several industries, including financial institutions, search engines, browsers, rewards services, telecom providers and device makers. Currently, Microsoft has integrated Wildfire coupons and cashback within the Edge browser and Bing search engine. Acorns, a micro-investing fintech firm, uses Wildfire to power a desktop extension for Acorns Earn — which allows users to earn money to invest when they shop online at thousands of merchants. Wildfire’s merchant network today totals 30,000 companies, including powerhouse brands such as Nordstrom, Hilton, 1800-flowers, Dell, Macy’s and Sephora.

Now Wildfire is expanding beyond its own app. It will deliver a white-label version of its software platform that can be embedded into e-commerce backbone of other businesses.

Glazier added, “It is still the same benefit, rewarding users for the stuff they do every day — that is making purchases for themselves and making recommendations to their friends. And from an e-commerce perspective, 30,000 is a very large number. So, for our partners, we deliver a versatile rewards program for essentially everywhere that users shop online.”

There have been a handful of acquisitions recently aimed at beefing up rewards offerings in e-commerce. They include the PayPal buyout of Honey, Capital One’s acquisition of Wikibuy to launch Capital One Shopping and Rakuten gobbling up Ebates.

TTV Capital partner Neil Kapur said, “Until now, it’s been difficult for companies to encourage social commerce, deploy rewards programs to their users at the right point in the customer journey and monetize word-of-mouth organic referrals. Wildfire has solved these problems with a versatile piece of infrastructure software and an orchestration layer that rewards users while also allowing merchants to drive conversion.”

Glazier previously led San Diego-based Eventful, a global online events calendar that grew to 25 million users. The company was sold to CBS in 2014.

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