Flybits, a contextual data intelligence company, has raised $35m (£28m) in a Series C round led by Point72 Ventures with participation from Mastercard, Citi Ventures, and Reinventure, along with existing partners Portag3 Ventures, TD Bank Group and Information Venture Partners.
Leveraging data science to improve the customer experience is more important than ever to the future of banking and finance. The coming together of these institutions is a testament to that need, and to the unique role of Flybits in advancing digital transformation and personalization in financial institutions.
Flybits transforms disparate data into a cohesive ecosystem with real-time insights. The technology assembles a bank’s proprietary customer data – such as bank account activities and time as a customer – with machine learning and external contextual data – such as propensity to consume and risk profiles – to deliver relevant and timely recommendations to customers. All while upholding the strictest standards of privacy protection.
The Series C brings Flybits’ total funding to date to USD $50 million. The new investment will be used to expand the teams in EMEA, LATAM, and the US where the company’s co-founder, Gerti Dervishi, is scaling the New York office. The funding will also be used to commercialize Flybits’ portfolio of AI and machine learning patents and further enhance user experience and design. In addition, the company is developing a marketplace that facilitates partnerships between large banks, fintechs, and other data providers in the creation of new services.
“Banks are looking for ways to maximize their use of data and better engage with customers, but are having a hard time executing and scaling this on their own or by leveraging passive PFM(Personal Finance Management) services,” said Dr. Hossein Rahnama, Founder and CEO of Flybits. “Flybits enables banks to use real-time data and contextual intelligence to shift to those new models and go to market with them faster without over-reliance on their IT department. We were looking for investors who share this vision with us and could become a catalyst in our global growth, and that is what we have found.”
“We believe that banks and other financial institutions are struggling to communicate with their customers about their products and services in the digital environment, and Flybits is the best technology to help,” said Tripp Shriner, Partner, Point72 Ventures. “Flybits has built a superior end-to-end solution for personalization of the digital customer experience in financial services and we are pleased to partner with them and support their future growth.”
“Personalization is mission-critical for all D2C businesses in the digital age. Flybits’ integrated platform allows financial services firms to offer contextualized experiences, driving product awareness and adding significant value to the lives of their customers,” said Ramneek Gupta, Managing Director and Co-Head of Venture Investing at Citi Ventures. “We look forward to partnering with Flybits in its next phase of growth as it continues to set the bar for hyper-personalized customer experiences.”
Other providers are not equipped to address these challenges as they stand. Legacy SaaS companies sell one-size-fits-all approaches with frozen sets of use cases. Traditional advertising technology companies can’t fulfill the complex data requirements of the financial sector. And conventional players within the financial sector are narrowly focused on point solutions like chatbots and smart PFMs that rely solely on data pattern matching and can’t scale.
“What excited us about Flybits was the ability to transform a transactional banking app into a wider lifestyle engagement tool for customers,” said Rohen Sood of Reinventure Group. “Flybits allows the orchestration of multiple data sets and assets to deliver a personalized experience to the end user that goes beyond banking. We believe Flybits is shaping the future of banking across the world and we are thrilled to be supporting them in that journey.”
Only Flybits brings a bank’s data sources together with new contextual data for a complete view of their customers, taking the onus off of IT departments and empowering non-technical teams to design and deliver hyper-personalized and predictive customer experiences.
Mastercard’s investment in Flybits is the latest in the company’s ongoing commitment to creating smarter, timely and more relevant experiences for global cardholders.
“Mastercard and Flybits share a vision on using data driven insights to enrich consumers’ experiences,” said Francis Hondal, President, Loyalty & Engagement at Mastercard. “Our ultimate goal is to develop products and services that engage consumers in a highly contextual manner. Through this collaboration with Flybits, we’ll be able to offer rich, personalized experiences for them throughout their journeys.”
Contextual and relevant AI is helping other Flybits customers achieve results too. One major North American bank saw a 43 percent increase in user engagement after implementing Flybits, while a major Latin America bank achieved a 164 percent increase in offer redemptions using Flybits.
Flybits continues to grow as well. In the last year alone, the company experienced 300 percent growth. And in 2019, the company will continue to hire across teams and offices, including adding solutions engineers, sales executives, business development reps and engineers.
“Customers are already used to seeing content and recommendations based on their behavior,” Rahnama said. “Netflix and Amazon use just a handful of customer data points for their recommendation engines. But Flybits leverages an unlimited amount to create far more personalized and relevant recommendations than ever before, all in an effort to help financial institutions deliver real-time lifestyle banking that gets at their customers’ deeper needs. This new investment will only continue to fuel those efforts.”