TLDR - Their fundraising failed. They are discontinuing old app, and starting a new one (sounds like TopCashback, Quidco, et al, direction) and you can only free up your current rewards by using their new app and earning same amount again
“To put it simply, in order to release the rewards pending from receipt scanning, a user will need to collect the equivalent amount via partner transactions in the new app”
We hope that your summer holidays brought you some much-needed rest and relaxation. We also hope you were able to come back to a familiar reality.
Back in June, we shared an update about our investor situation and committed ourselves to make a definitive decision about the future of our app by the end of the summer break. In short, we were not able to secure the funding we needed in this period. That said, please bear with us so that we can explain how we plan to go forward.
In this time, we have been working on alternative solutions that would allow the business to survive and to get back on track with helping our users pay their monthly bills.
As we’ve emphasised in the past, we are confident that we have done everything we could to keep our business going. We gave it our all - fighting to stay afloat both as founders and in our personal lives and refusing to give up. In the 16 months since we started our fundraising process, we reached out to 273 potential investors and took part in 104 meetings. Ultimately, we were not able to raise the funds we needed to continue developing the app and preserve the social mission of our business.
In most cases, investors just did not have faith that a business like ours could help people and become profitable at the same time. The fact that ZIPZERO is still pre-revenue was the main obstacle in convincing investors to come on board. They just weren’t willing to take a risk on a young, socially-minded start-up in these unprecedented times. However, encouraged by the continued positive feedback from our users and the fellow start-up founders we met on our fundraising journey, we decided we couldn’t just abandon our mission.
ZIPZERO is the fruit of 10 years of learning and hard work. We have invested our lives and personal savings in the business, as well as the funds of our early angel investors.
OUR NEXT STEPS
We have come up with what we believe is a credible alternative solution that will allow us to cover users’ past and present rewards by tapping into the online marketing budgets that fuel Google and Facebook. Our plan is to collect our share of the fees that retailers are willing to pay for driving traffic to their stores - and to divert this cash to ZIPZERO and our users’ wallets. We have already secured partnerships with over 500 leading online retailers including Amazon, ASOS, B&Q, Booking.com, Ebay, Iceland and Tesco, to name but a few.
We are launching a new version of the app in the autumn that will make it possible for ZIPZERO users to shop with partner merchants. Thanks to these transactions, we will earn a fee for each ZIPZERO user who shops at a partner store - and then pass on the majority of this fee to our users in the form of a reward (cash towards bill payment). In order for us to set this plan into motion, we are counting on our users to take advantage of this function.
In the next three weeks, we will share a survey with our users to gauge their interest in using the new app.
The new app will use the same reward mechanism - earning cash rewards on retail purchases - but now instead of covering these funds from our own pockets, we can use the brand or retailer’s own marketing budget to generate these rewards. All users would have to do is start doing their shopping trips via the app with our retail partners - first online and eventually in-store as well. We know our users have been eager to use the online shopping functionality for some time and we have found a way to launch that service that is quick and relatively low cost in terms of the technology upgrades involved. This is the new future of ZIPZERO.
WHAT ABOUT THE REWARDS I EARNED IN THE PAST?
The new ZIPZERO app will give us the freedom to access a direct source of funds (retail marketing budgets) to pay out rewards to our users. We will use these funds not only to cover your rewards for newly scanned receipts and transactions with our partner merchants - but also to cover the rewards that are currently pending in your ZIPZERO wallets.
To put it simply, in order to release the rewards pending from receipt scanning, a user will need to collect the equivalent amount via partner transactions in the new app. We will then be able to cover both the historic rewards and the new partner rewards at the same time.
The alternative would have been to shut down the app entirely, but we know we have put too much work and heart into this mission to go down this road. The details of our planned reboot and the launch of the new app are summarised below.
** The old version of the ZIPZERO app will no longer be available for download. We are removing the app from the Apple and Google Play stores. Note: If an existing user deletes the app, they will not be able to download it until the official launch of the new app.*
** Even though it will no longer be available for download, the current version of the app will continue to function until the launch of the new ZIPZERO app. Users are free to scan their receipts and all of their transactions will be saved and transferred to the new and updated version of the app.*
** In the next three weeks, we will poll our users in order to gauge their interest in joining the new ZIPZERO app and using the new partner shopping function.*
** At the same time, we are initiating the development of the new version of the ZIPZERO app, which will allow users to both scan their receipts and carry out online transactions with partner merchants.*
** We plan to launch the new ZIPZERO app at the end of November, just in time for the holiday shopping period - which we hope will have an even greater impact on our revenue-generating potential and get the partner rewards flowing into our users’ wallets. As we stated above, this source of funds will also allow us to cover the historic rewards accumulated via the beta version of the app.*
WHAT IF I AM NO LONGER INTERESTED IN USING THE APP?
We are not alone in the challenges we’ve faced as a company, and we understand that our users have not had an easy time with it either. We thank you kindly for your patience and loyalty as we have navigated this challenging period. We understand perfectly that some of you will not want to continue with the app - and our users are free to delete the app and remove any data linked to their account. We will not save or store any receipt data related to any user who has deleted their account. At the same time, we want to make it clear that we have not profited in any way from your receipts scanned into the app. However, users will be able to use their previous registration information to log in to the new app and regain access to the rewards that they accumulated in their wallets via receipt scanning in the original ZIPZERO app.
For users who still share our start-up ambitions and social mission - we appreciate that you have stuck by us through the storm and we welcome you to stay on board and help us launch the next phase of the ZIPZERO app.
We want to emphasise that we will only go forward with the launch of the new version of the app if enough users are interested and willing to use the ZIPZERO to initiate some or all of their everyday purchases online.
Now that we have overcome the toughest hurdle of our start-up journey, we look optimistically towards the future and the new ZIPZERO. We would love to have you continue with us and support our vision as we make good on all our dreams and goals, despite the obstacles we have faced.
With much kindness and respect,
Aymeric and Marcin