CEO Jehan Luth says that the new capital will be put toward product research and development and infrastructure growth, as well as toward expanding Banyan’s headcount from 46 employees to 50 by the end of the year. “This funding round positions Banyan well with ample runway to grow,” he told TechCrunch in an email interview, noting that it brings the company’s total raised to $53 million.
Banyan maintains a database of “SKU-level” data and a platform that leverages the database to enable companies to use purchase data in various ways (e.g., fraud prevention, loyalty programs and card-linked offers). For example, Banyan can integrate item-level purchase data into business banking or expense management apps, removing the need to organize receipts and expense reports. Elsewhere, the platform organizes, classifies and standardizes receipt data to enable merchants and their partners to target offers to specific items, categories and aisle-level subcategories they want to reward (think ad campaigns like “buy grilling equipment at grocer X and get 20% cash back”).
Luth — who holds an associate’s degree in computer science from the University of Cambridge, a bachelor’s degree in food science from the Culinary Institute of America, and master’s degrees in epidemiology and law from the University of Pennsylvania — founded Banyan in 2019 after serving as technology director of Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health. He claims one of the company’s major differentiators is that its network obtains data directly from first-party sources, such as merchants, and doesn’t collect personal information — addresses, phone numbers, email addresses and the like — “unless absolutely necessary” to deliver a service.
“Merchants are a key collaborator in our network, providing secure purchase receipt data so that there is no need for screen scraping or problematic receipt snapshots with a mobile phone,” Luth said. “We are organizing and standardizing item-level data across all merchants so that it can be accurate and consistent when integrated into banking institution customer platforms.”
Banyan claims to have processed billions of transactions and receipts from the over 35,000 merchant partners in its network. Luth, who declined to reveal the size of the company’s customer base, says it’s made up largely of banks and fintechs (he wouldn’t name names).
“In an environment where many consumers are tightening their belts and rethinking brand loyalty, item-level data can be a key for retailers to offer real savings leveraging strategic ‘aisle’ budgets, while also managing inventory levels and efficiently driving sales retention,” Luth said, demurring when asked about Banyan’s revenue numbers. “Our investments will enable financial institutions to increase customer engagement by delivering personalized digital experiences, and enable merchants to streamline the purchase experience and create new sources of sales revenue along with improving their ability to manage inventories.”
Banyan raises $43M to grow its network of item-level purchase data by Kyle Wiggers originally published on TechCrunch