Zenreach is announcing that it has raised $30 million in Series C funding.
The round comes from venture capital firms like Maverick Ventures, Founders Fund (Founders Fund’s Peter Thiel joined the board last year), 8 VC, Bain Capital Ventures, First Round Capital and SV Angel — plus two celebrity investors, NBA star Kevin Durant and actor/VC Ashton Kutcher.
Founder and CEO Jack Abraham (pictured above with Durant and Kutcher) previously sold his local shopping startup Milo to eBay for $75 million. He said that Zenreach, like Milo, is “bringing the online and offline world together.”
Specifically, businesses that use Zenreach can offer their customers free Wi-Fi. All the customer needs to do is register using their email address, phone number or Facebook account.
Zenreach then uses that information to create a customer database for the business, which in turn allows them to deliver targeted promotions — businesses could create different messages and offers for new customers, loyal customers, customers who need to be enticed back and so on. And because Zenreach can recognize devices once they’ve been registered, it can help businesses measure when these efforts actually bring people back into the store.
While there are other companies offering CRM tools for brick-and-mortar merchants (Square, for example, is trying to do this on the payments side), Abraham said his company’s approach is particularly compelling because it doesn’t require any change in consumer behavior or any additional training for store staff: You just install the Zenreach router and it automatically starts collecting email addresses.
In fact, Abraham said the company collects an average of 10 email address per day for each business.
Abraham also said Zenreach works across industries. He argued that consumers expect free Wi-Fi wherever they go nowadays, including “doctor’s offices and dentists and spas and auto repair” — not just at coffee shops.
“Every merchant wants to offer it, and should offer it,” Abraham said. “And it’s becoming expected.”
Zenreach has now raised a total of $80 million. It’s also made some notable hires in the past few months, including former Groupon vice president Zach Finley, who’s now executive vice president of growth and operations, and Derek Seibert, who held a number of roles at Uber and is now Zenreach’s director of growth.