Startup profile: CloudZync

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Startup profile: CloudZync

Caroline Baldwin

CloudZync is a British startup which provides mobile wallets  for retailers to enable mobile payments and loyalty programmes.

What are the benefits for IT buyers?

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The technology is aimed at retailers and businesses who want to engage with customers via the mobile device.

Andrew Smith, chief technology officer, CloudZync, said: “It’s clear that mobile payments isn’t alone going to be a game changer as it doesn’t change my habit of reaching for my wallet.”

“We looked at payments as a blank piece of paper and started from scratch,” he said.

Smith believes that CloudZync’s ZWallet is a “true digital wallet” that can replace the traditional wallet by providing a payment method via a mobile, as well as hosting deals, vouchers, membership cards and loyalty schemes that engage with the customer and incentivise them to come into the store.

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“For small businesses, we give them a tool to fight against the larger corporates and to help out the high street,” said Smith.

He said that loyalty schemes are the way to encourage engagement with customers, but they are also expensive to invest in. CloudZync can provide businesses with a white label loyalty scheme which can then push offers onto a customer’s ZWallet application.

Businesses can use the app to be discovered by customers, as well as engaging and incentivising through deals. The wallet – which is topped up with credit by the customer, rather than linking to a credit or debit card – also saves the retailer money on transactional fees.

“A lot of these businesses are very mobile, constantly on the move, work for themselves and don’t carry cash. With ZWallet, they simply scan the customer’s phone,” said Smith.

How does the technology work?

The application is currently available for iOS and Windows 8, with apps for Windows 7 and Android operating systems becoming available in the near future.

CloudZync has designed its own cloud ecosystem, using Microsoft’s Azure technology. And the company uses technologies available on all phones including 3G, 4G, Wi-Fi and QR codes.

How will the technology work in a typical corporate infrastructure?

Retailers can log into a web portal and sign up one of two different software-as-a-service (SaaS) business models: a pay-as-ago scheme for basic functions including payments and helping customers to find a store; and a business service package which is a monthly plan which enables the full extent of the wallet system including loyalty.

It also provides retailers with information about its customers, so it can offer targeted deals at a later stage. CloudZync’s open API means that the businesses can pull these data feeds out and download them to its till systems. With larger businesses, CloudZync also supports Active Directory, so businesses can support multiple points of sale.

Who is the target market?

CloudZync’s ZWallet is aimed at retailers who want to engage with their customers via the mobile device. The company is currently aiming its technology at small businesses, but is also in talks with larger retailers.

At the moment, the company has 280 SME customers in the London and Essex areas. These businesses range from gym instructors to food and nutrition, to coffee shops and beauty salons.

Background of the startup

CloudZync was found in June 2012 by Smith and his co-founder Mark Seddon. The business was self-funded initially, until an Angel Investor joined the team towards the end of last year. The Beta release of the software is still in its very early stages and the company has not spent a lot of time marketing, as the focus, Smith said, has been on the technology. The team now consists of 11 people, plus contractors.


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