Mobile retail discount platform Swirl Networks will provide mobile discounts to shoppers at mass merchandisers and department store chains, after Hearst Ventures invested $8 million in the company. Hearst Ventures, a division of Heart Corporation, has previously invested in Netscape, Pandora, and XM Radio.
Swirl provides discounts to mobile users via a combination of mobile apps, sensors and cloud-based services. Consumers opt in when they download the Swirl app or the store's mobile app, and then their mobile device reacts to a beacon in the store, sending targeted discounts.
While Swirl has been working with apparel retailers such as Kenneth Cole and Timberland, the investment will allow the discount provider to expand its service to the "largest big box and department stores," Swirl's CEO and founder, Hilmi Ozguc, told Forbes.
Hearst Ventures invested in Swirl because the company is a leader and innovator in mobile marketing and retail engagement – the "last frontier in influencing buying behavior", Scott English, managing director of Hearst Ventures told Forbes. "Many of our advertisers and partners are looking for new and effective ways to deliver personalized messages to consumers at the moment of purchase," English said.
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