Launched in 2009, local commerce payments processing company Swipely is now handling more than $2 billion in annual sales on behalf of smaller merchants, particularly restaurants, bars and other hospitality-focused companies. Its big pitch is the ability to endow existing point of sale (POS) systems at local merchants with deeper analytics and insights that help these organizations improve customer relationships. It isn't trying to be less expensive, it's trying to offer higher value to merchants grossing over $1 million in annual sales, per location.
Angus Davis, founder and CEO of Swipely, said his company's mission is to accept payments, help small businesses understand their customers, and then use that information to help them grow sales.
The latest updates to the Swipely platform, for example, include reports that help restaurants track server performance or even how certain menu items are doing. It does this by analyzing POS transactions and storing the data every time a customer uses a credit or debit card.
Essentially, Swipely is trying to compete with other payment processing services by offering small merchants a value add: more insight into their POS trends, which they can use for customer loyalty and marketing purposes. Because it supports many widely used POS systems — including Micros, Aloha, PosiTouch, Squirrel and Aldelo — it doesn't require an overhaul of the hardware.
Up until now, Swipely has been focused primarily on individual locations, but new features will help provide regional managers with insights that allow them to compare one operation to another or to look at results in aggregate — provided they have the right to do so, he said.
"We do feel like our technology is kind of like a car compared to the existing technology, which is more like a horse and buggy," Davis said. "With our technology, [local merchants] are able to do so much more than accept a payment. They are able to keep track of customers to determine, time after time, what they do when they come in, and then to use that information to offer more personalized services."
In late May, Swipely got $20 million in Series C funding, led by Pritzker Venture Capital and including existing investors First Round Capital, Index Ventures and Shasta Ventures. That brings its total so far to $40.5 million.