Stocard, which competes with Apple’s Passbook with a simple but clever take on the mobile phone-as-loyalty-card-wallet, has raised $850k in funding from German VC High-Tech Gründerfonds, Klaas Kersting, and two unnamed investors from the retail sector.
Available for iOS and Android, and targeting the UK, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Italy, and Australia, the Stocard app provides a way for users to save all of their plastic loyalty cards and coupons to their smartphone. It does this by enabling them to scan cards using their phone’s camera, thereby creating a digital wallet of sorts, but without the need for retailers to explicitly participate. Then, when a user shops at a store, instead of hunting for that store’s loyalty card, they simply open the Stocard app and have the cashier scan the replica barcode displayed on their smartphone screen.
However, retailers who do partner with Stocard can push special offers and more to users via the app, which is presumably how the startup intends to make money.
In terms of the competition, as mentioned, Apple is one competitor, although its Passbook is limited to iOS only and goes further than just loyalty scheme ‘card’ support to include saving digital tickets and gift cards to the app, too. In contrast, Stocard is sticking to loyalty cards only and is gunning to be multi-platform from the get-go, and doesn’t rely on support from retailers.
“Th main difference between us and Passbook is that we focus only on loyalty and support all loyalty cards, as we do not need to connect to a retailers app. We also offer you coupons and discounts related to your loyalty cards”, says co-founder David Handlos.
Another more direct competitor is FidMe, although there are quite a few others.
Stocard’s backstory is quite typical. The startup was founded in 2011 while Handlos and his other two co-founders Björn Goß and Florian Barth were studying at University. Prior to graduation, the app bagged 200,000 installs and has now hit the 425,000+ mark.