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WeGift, the ‘incentive marketing’ platform, collects $8M in new funding

By Steve O'Hear

WeGift, the London-based startup that has built an “incentive marketing” platform that lets businesses easily issue e-gift cards and other digital rewards to customers, has raised $8 million in new funding.

Dubbed a Series A extension, the round is led by AlbionVC . Existing investors including Stride.vc, SAP.iO fund and Unilever Ventures also followed on. Following the fundraise, Ed Lascelles, general partner at AlbionVC, is joining the WeGift board.

WeGift says it will use the additional capital to continue building out its “real-time infrastructure” for digital rewards and incentives. This will include investment in building its supply chain through direct integrations with brands, and product development “that serves corporate marketing teams looking to acquire, activate and retain customers at scale”.

Founded in 2016 by Aron Alexander, WeGift wants to digitise the $700 billion rewards and incentives industry, which is largely still powered by legacy systems built for physical gift cards.

“Currently payments are a one way street,” WeGift’s Alexander told TechCrunch in June. “Payments technology is built to enable businesses to take money from consumers but it doesn’t let businesses send money to consumers.

“We’ve created a new category of digital non-cash rewards to power customer acquisition, retention and loyalty globally: the ‘Twilio for e-gift cards’”.

To do this, WeGift offers a “cloud-based, open API” platform that allows businesses to automate sending digital incentives. This is combined with analytics, making it easier to track ROI on incentive marketing campaigns.

Since we last covered the startup, WeGift has grown its network to more than 700 brand partners (such as Nike and Uber), across 30 markets and 20 currencies. It claims “hundreds of clients,” such as Vodafone, Samsung, Vouchercodes, Perkbox and Sodexo, among others.

“We’ve become a favourite of the telecom and energy industry with companies like Vodafone, Utilita, LookAfterMyBills and E.ON using our platform,” Alexander tells me.

WeGift is disclosing 317% in annual revenue growth, but isn’t providing actual revenue numbers. Notably, the company has also opened a New York office.

AI-tool maker Seldon raises £7.1M Series A from AlbionVC and Cambridge Innovation Capital

By Mike Butcher

Seldon is a UK startup that specializes in the rarified world of development tools to optimize Machine Learning. What does this mean? Well, dear reader, it means that the “AI” that companies are so fond of trumpeting, does actually end up working.

It’s now raised a £7.1M Series A round co-led by AlbionVC and Cambridge Innovation Capital . The round also includes significant participation from existing investors Amadeus Capital Partners and Global Brain, with follow-on investment from other existing shareholders. The £7.1M funding will be used to accelerate R&D and drive commercial expansion, take Seldon Deploy – a new enterprise solution – to market, and double the size of the team over the next 18 months.

More accurately, Seldon is a cloud-agnostic Machine Learning (ML) deployment specialist which works in partnership with industry leaders such as Google, Red Hat, IBM and Amazon Web Services.

Key to its success is that its open-source project Seldon Core has over 700,000 models deployed to date, drastically reducing friction for users deploying ML models. The startup says its customers are getting productivity gains of as much as 92% as a result of utilizing Seldon’s product portfolio.

Alex Housley, CEO and founder of Seldon said: Speaking to TechCrunch, Housley explained that companies are using machine learning across thousands of use cases today, “but the model actually only generates real value when it’s actually running inside a real-world application.”

“So what we’ve seen emerge over these last few years are companies that specialize in specific parts of the machine learning pipeline, such as training version control features. And in our case we’re focusing on deployment. So what this means is that organizations can now build a fully bespoke AI platform that suits their needs, so they can gain a competitive advantage,” he said.

In addition, he said Seldon’s Open Source model means that companies are not locked-in: “They want to avoid locking as well they want to use tools from various different vendors. So this kind of intersection between machine learning, DevOps and cloud-native tooling is really accelerating a lot of innovation across enterprise and also within startups and growth-stage companies.”

Nadine Torbey, Investor AlbionVC added: “Seldon is at the forefront of the next wave of tech innovation, and the leadership team are true visionaries. Seldon has been able to build an impressive open-source community and add immediate productivity value to some of the world’s leading companies.”

Vin Lingathoti, Partner at Cambridge Innovation Capital said: “Machine learning has rapidly shifted from a nice-to-have to a must-have for enterprises across all industries. Seldon’s open-source platform operationalizes ML model development and accelerates the time-to-market by eliminating the pain points involved in developing, deploying and monitoring Machine Learning models at scale.”

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