The French startup Joko is revolutionizing loyalty cards, offering a seamless, customized and centralized customer experience. Through its mobile app, credit cards become loyalty cards. After connecting the application to their bank through a secure interface made possible through the PSD2 directive, customers can automatically accumulate reward points every time they use their usual credit card in dozens of big retailers including McDonald’s, Uber, Starbucks, Zara, and many more.
The fintech startup has just raised €1.6 million from Partech, Axeleo Capital, Lafayette Plug and Play, and several angel investors from the sector to develop its simple and universal loyalty program integrated into credit or debit cards.
Founded in 2018, Joko is now being accelerated within Facebook’s Startup Garage at Station F, a program focused on personal data protection and privacy by design.
With Joko, there is no need to scan or say anything – the user is automatically notified after their purchase, and can check their points in the application. In one click, they can trade them for gift cards in several retailers or convert them into donations to charitable associations.
Joko also provides a fully customized experience, thanks to a layer of AI that suggests offers adapted to users’ habits. After a few months of beta, Joko has already been adopted by tens of thousands of people, with the user base doubling every month. Users have already earned tens of millions of points since the product’s beta launch.
“Our ambition with Joko is to build a strong brand, a product used by millions of people that retailers reward on a daily basis, by putting technology at the service of the user experience,” said Xavier Starkloff, Joko CEO and co-founder.
“Our users are looking for a reward and loyalty experience that is simple, customized and gamified and that is what we have managed to create with Joko,” said Nicolas Salat-Baroux, co-founder of Joko. “It is thanks to this experience that we see a real impact on the frequency of purchases and the average basket of our users at the retailers available on the application. For example, with Monoprix, we have seen a 17% increase in expenses.”
Joko has a very detailed understanding of millennials’ purchasing habits, thanks to the millions of euro transactions it processes daily. On the basis of aggregated and anonymous statistics, Joko enables brands to understand their positioning in relation to their market and competitors.
“As soon as Joko arrived in our 5th acceleration batch, we were immediately seduced by their vision and ability to execute,” said Pieter Lammens, Director of Lafayette Plug and Play. “Today, as an investor, we are convinced that the Joko solution will have a major impact in the medium term for retailers in the recruitment and entertainment of millennials.”
The technology developed by Joko was made possible by the Payment Services Directive No. 2 (PSD2), the new European regulation that gives back to consumers the power over their banking data.
“Joko’s team has the ambition to meet new consumer expectations by relying on the development of new technologies now made possible by the PSD2, and with an extremely strict respect of the use of data,” said Alison Imbert, Investment Director at Partech.
Thanks to the recent PSD2 directive, consumers now have the possibility to give access to their banking data to third-party applications, through secure interfaces that banks are obliged to set up. Last year, Joko registered as a payment institution agent with the French Prudential Supervision and Resolution Authority (ACPR), the institution backed by the Banque de France that ensures the security of banks’ customers. Joko is the first mobile application in Europe to use the PSD2 to revolutionize loyalty cards, and plans to expand internationally by 2020.
The fintech startup has already convinced several dozen partners, including leading retailers such as Printemps, Fnac and Franprix, as well as digital native brands like Birchbox, Heetch, and Cityscoot, who have already trusted Joko to optimize their marketing.
With the new financing, Joko has the means to accelerate the development of its solution. Using machine learning techniques, Joko has developed a transaction categorization and intelligent identification engine that is able to identify merchants with unprecedented accuracy. The funds raised will make it possible to recruit more developers and data scientists to join a team that already has, only one year after its creation, about fifteen people currently based at Station F, including former members of Criteo, Jumia, and Happn.