If you’ve ever received a gift voucher for a store you rarely or never shop in, then Zeek could prove useful. The marketplace and mobile app lets you buy and sell unwanted store credit, including gift vouchers, credit notes, gift cards and e-vouchers. The seller gets to offload credit that is of no use or before it expires, and the buyer gets to purchase credit at a significant discount. Meanwhile, Zeeks take a commission on each transaction. Win-win-win, you might say.
Today the Tel Aviv-headquarted company is disclosing that it’s closed a $3 million Series A round from Blumberg Capital, Qualcomm Ventures (the chip maker’s venture arm), and Waze founder and existing Zeek investor Uri Levin. Originally launched in Israel before expanding to the U.K. in December 2014, the startup plans to use the new funding to “expedite” further European expansion.
Co-founder and CEO Daniel Zelkind says that in the U.K. alone, close to 20 per cent of issued store credit goes unredeemed each year, resulting in a $1.5 billion loss to consumers as well as retailers that are not able to secure the 40 per cent “up-sell” they typically achieve when a shopper spends their store credit.
“Zeek leverages the huge potential of this untapped audience, with an easy-to-use, mobile marketplace. Sellers recycle unwanted store credit, offering markdowns, while buyers get store credit from their favorite brands and shops at discounted prices,” he tells me.
Competitors include extremely well-funded Raise in the U.S., as well as the likes of eBay and other local classified sites.
“Zeek offers its solution outside of the U.S. where consumers suffer heavily from a lack of a proper solution to this problem. The value proposition to buyers is very compelling as store credit is cash equivalent, meaning there is no fine print, a consumer can use it for any item at any time at the retailers they chose,” adds Zelkind.