Coupon cashback app GreenJinn has launched a multimillion-pound fundraise to create an e-commerce platform allowing customers to purchase directly from its app.
The app’s original function allows shoppers to access coupons from a wide range of brands and receive cashback by simply scanning their receipts.
To help brands survive the coronavirus pandemic, GreenJinn decided to expand its service, developing an integrated online shop function within the app, co-founder and CEO Giuseppe Licari told The Grocer.
“At the beginning of March we started realising that a major shock and change was happening in the habits of shoppers around the globe,” he said.
“A huge opportunity was opening up for the brands to reach the attention of consumers in the place where they were needed the most: online.
“This brought us to rethink the way we were serving brands and consumers in order to support them during and beyond the crisis through a real omnichannel experience.”
GreenJinn’s “virtual piazza” will integrate brands’ own e-commerce systems in the app, simplifying the purchase of products from multiple shops.
Orders can be placed with one click via ApplePay or AndroidPay, and all the products will be delivered DTC, allowing for the experience of buying from a single marketplace without changing the way brands operate.
A beta launch is planned for the beginning of May, with more than 20 brands signed up to the service. A full rollout is expected in the following weeks.
The startup is urging brands interested to join its online marketplace to get in touch.
Licari added: “Given the current situation, every business in the grocery industry is trying to switch overnight to DTC to fill the gap left in bricks-and-mortar retailers.
“Being mobile-based and in the hands of the customers, we have the possibility to develop this integration creating a ‘virtual piazza’, making consumers feel like they are in a local market square.”
To support the platform development and invest in R&D, technological innovation and artificial intelligence, GreenJinn is planning to raise the funding from a mix of venture capital funds, private equity and angel investors, who it said could provide knowledge, experience and skills to support its growth.
Co-founder and CFO Roberto Amerighi told The Grocer the startup had set an initial target of £3m but was willing to overfund “to plan carefully for the future and achieve its goals”.
Since inception in 2016, GreenJinn has raised over £1m from angel investors and small family offices.
Amerighi said since the coronavirus outbreak investors had shown a “certain willingness to understand what innovative businesses are doing” to tackle new challenges.
Others, however, were taking a “wait-and-see” approach, he said.
GreenJinn is also evaluating the possibility of accessing the government’s newly announced Future Fund, which allows ‘innovative’ businesses to raise between £125k and £5m from the government, with private investors at least matching the commitment.