Belly lands $10 million from Andreessen Horowitz; customer loyalty for SMBs

Summary:Buy 10, get one free -- that's the kind of deal VC firm Andreessen Horowitz hopes it sees in Belly, which aims to replace customer loyalty cards for small- and medium-sized businesses.

Belly, a customer loyalty startup for small- and medium-sized businesses, announced this morning that it received $10 million in funding from Silicon Valley venture capital giant Andreessen Horowitz.

The Series B round funds will be used to develop the company's loyalty platform; specifically, that includes expanding into new cities, partnerships and product development.

Andreessen's Jeff Jordan -- if the name rings a bell, he's a former exec of OpenTable and PayPal -- will join Belly's board.

As a company, Belly partners with merchants to design and implement rewards programs with the hope of engaging customers more effectively. Unsurprisingly, the arrangement involves rewards -- although these are slightly more entertaining than basic savings. (To wit: a "personal dance lesson" from a staff member of Molly's Cupcakes.) Belly gives its merchant partners access to its technology platform, analytics and training; the retailer hopefully gets a customer that's more keen on returning.

Brand loyalty is nothing new, of course -- you probably have a nice collection of "buy 10, get one free" cards stuffed in your wallet. It should be interesting to see if customers are willing to sign up to Belly more readily than any other tech-infused loyalty program -- after all, signing up for just one more thing is exactly the thing most of us loathe. (And trying new technology is not exactly something most hurried business owners are willing to set aside the time to do.)

The platform was launched in August and has grown to about 200,000 active users, it says. About 1,400 merchants are on board. It's available in Chicago, Austin, Milwaukee, Madison, Washington D.C., Phoenix -- and, starting today, New York and Boston.

Topics: Start-Ups

About

Andrew Nusca is a former writer-editor for ZDNet and contributor to CNET. He is also the former editor of SmartPlanet, ZDNet's sister site about innovation. He writes about business, technology and design now but used to cover finance, fashion and culture. He was an intern at Money, Men's Vogue, Popular Mechanics and the New York Daily Ne... Full Bio

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