How Fygo’s loyalty platform became a campus hit with students
With Toby Lowenstein, Co-Founder and CPO at Fygo.
Drive local spend in and around University locations with a student-centric loyalty platform.
Fygo onboarded 4,000 new users and generated £200,000 of local spend within the first month of launch.
- Loyalty and Rewards
- Durham, UK
- Products used
- Transactions API
Fygo wanted to build the ultimate loyalty solution aimed at Gen Z that would drive local spending and tap into the inherently social nature of the student lifestyle.
Fygo launched across the Durham University campus in 2021, offering students and faculty members real-time rewards with a social twist. After a successful launch, they’ve set their sights on several more campus locations across the UK.
When Fygo Co-Founder Toby Lowenstein set out with his brother Jonah to create a discount card targeted at Gen Z, their aim was to help connect businesses with the wants and needs of the student population.
Toby could see the socially-conscious student lifestyle was inherently tied to their spending habits and the young generation’s influence was sizable. The Gen Z population makes up approximately 40% of all consumers and they typically exhibit weaker loyalty to specific brands. Additionally, they demonstrate higher engagement with mobile applications than older generations.
On the merchant side, the many local businesses around Universities were traditionally overlooked by loyalty platforms, who typically opt to partner with national chains. Being able to offer a solution that could accommodate any size business, would be transformative, allowing Fygo to reward students’ spending at more localised, unique brands, too.
The typical user journey also lacked simplicity. Existing solutions added unnecessary steps, such as an additional loyalty card to the checkout process, with no reward or recognition for spending with friends. Student users often found the experience too clunky and isolated to resonate.
Toby’s ambition was to build an effortless and social loyalty experience, so recommendations and point-sharing could be done between student users. In particular, Toby hoped to help revitalise struggling businesses by delivering more value to everyday purchases, following the COVID-19 pandemic.
Before finding Fidel API, Toby explored several options to support the vision he had for Fygo. First, the Fygo team explored Open Banking as a means to provide holistic visibility of spend. Open Banking solutions make real-time engagements challenging due to the staggered delivery of transactions. Speed was an important factor behind engaging students and a more expedient means was needed.
Fidel’s Transactions API proved a solution, allowing the Fygo platform to connect to payment card data at the moment of purchase and so they could create real-time engagements with their users. Through the Fygo platform, users are notified of rewards via push-notification instantly at checkout in-store or online, with no need to physically present anything extra like a rewards card. Users can then withdraw their accrued earnings as cash at any time, directly to their bank account via the Fygo app.
Toby and the Fygo team also built several social features into the platform. When a student spends, they earn loyalty points for themselves and can share the points with friends on the app. Toby hoped the feature would organically create student brand ambassadors, who could passively generate their own income, and connect with friends via the rewards they shared.
With the concept agreed on and Fidel API chosen to integrate with, Toby and his team went ahead and raised their pre-seed, and began building the new and improved Fygo platform, with their sights set on a mid-2021 release date.
“Working with Fidel has enabled Fygo to build the future of Gen Z loyalty and marketing solutions, providing instant and automatic rewards after every purchase!”
After partnering with over 80 Durham-based businesses and 30 online businesses, the Fygo team set up a waiting list function to generate increased hype before release. Fygo officially launched at the end of April 2021 and was made free to download for Durham University students and staff members. Within the first month, the results spoke for themselves. With over 4,000 new users onboarded, Fygo helped channel £200,000 of spend within four weeks of launch.
With scaling going so well, Toby was delighted to receive a wealth of feedback from users on the app, ensuring they could continue adding new features that people really wanted. Improved friend-filtering, friend-mapping and cashback ‘boosts’ are all planned additions to the platform.
In light of this initial success, Toby and his team are excited to scale even further. Following their seed round, they raised a further £3 million and have been hiring extensively in the Growth and Sales teams. More campuses have been selected for Fygo’s continued rollout, with Bristol University next in line. In the future, Toby has hopes of expanding to European and international universities.
Despite launching during the uncertainty of COVID, Fygo’s leap of faith has paid off across Durham, as the economic bounce back continues.
Toby’s mission for Fygo is to become the ultimate Gen Z customer acquisition and loyalty marketing solution and reach as many students as possible. With another semester just around the corner, and thousands more students to engage, the future looks very bright for Fygo.