“The app works very simply and intuitively,” CEO and co-founder Mathieu Brosch told FoodNavigator. “The concept answers two major issues of the food and beverage sectors. First, ‘who really are my customers?’ and second, ‘How to effectively engage them?’"
It works like this: Consumers download the Vazee app and see a list of participating companies. Heineken beer is one. The next time they buy a Heineken beer in a restaurant or bar, they take a picture of the receipt and upload it to Vazee, winning 10 points.
Consumers can then select the offer they would like to benefit from among Vazee’s partners. Three hundred points, for example, are equivalent to a free box of tea from the brand Oh My Tea! or a cinema ticket. Other partners include Le Petit Ballon, a French start-up which sells monthly subscriptions to home-delivered wine.
"Our data are unique and help them to profile the users and consumers of a brand. [This] can help them to target their consumers in a better way, to know their behaviour and to gain visibility.”
As it’s manufacturers that sign up to the service, rather than restaurants, it means consumers can scan a receipt from any restaurant, café or bar in the country.
In addition to Heineken, mineral water Spadel and juice brand Pago have joined, while Brosch said the start-up, which he co-founded in 2014 with his partner Frederic Scholler, is in talks with Coca-Cola.
The benefit to manufacturers is access to previously out-of-reach data.
“Market research companies like Nielsen can only offer solutions for products sold in supermarkets but for restaurants, bars and cafes, there is no data," Brosch said.
Information from each app user's profile and the receipt, combined with geolocalised information from the smartphone, mean Vazee has a wealth of data. Manufacturers pay subscription fees, which vary from between €10,000 to €50,000, depending on the level of data they want.
“Manufacturers have access to the data via a platform dashboard they see online which gives all the demographic and behavioural information. They can see who drinks their product, where, how often, in what type of establishment – is it a bar, restaurant – and how he or she pays.”
Brosch said the start-up is currently focussing on the food service sector because manufacturers of branded products sold in this space have no access to consumer data.
Relevant to packaged food manufacturers
However, the concept could still be of interest to a packaged food manufacturer, he said.
“Take the example of Buitoni or Dr Oetker that make frozen pizzas. They could be interested to see who eats pizza in restaurants so that they can adapt their product range or carry out a targeted marketing campaign so those people discover what kind of frozen pizza is available in supermarkets.”
Brosch and Scholler recently completed a fundraising campaign with Business Angels and other investment funds, generating one million euros.
Vazee is currently only available in France but plans to expand to other French-speaking countries Luxembourg and Belgium within one year and in other European countries in 18 to 24 months.