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Chicago Booth-Led Startup Punchh Closes $40 Million Series C Round

punchh logoMarketing platform Punchh just closed a $40 million series C round. Founded in 2010 by Shyam Rao, MBA ’08, and Sastry Penumarthy, MBA ’00, Punchh has grown from an online loyalty card service to a platform serving more than 160 global enterprise brands, including Pizza Hut, Denny’s, TGI Friday’s, and Quiznos.

Punchh is the world leader in innovative digital marketing products for physical retailers. Combining AI and machine learning technologies, mobile-first expertise, and omni-channel communications, Punchh allows its partners to dramatically increase lifetime customer value by building customer relationships at every stage.

“Online retailers are simply doing a better job at knowing their customers and keeping them loyal with delightful and customized shopping experiences,” says Rao in a statement. “The tools to compete with Amazon do exist and, as Punchh customers such as, Pizza Hut and Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf can attest, brick and mortar retailers now have the tools to identify customers, predict behaviors and execute custom campaigns on the fly that fundamentally increase lifetime customer value.”

Punchh continues to maintain its close ties with the University of Chicago community, with Chicago Booth alumni Anish Mehta, MBA ’08, and Kaushik Roy, MBA ’01, also joining the company as CFO and VP of Product, respectively. The company also participated in Polsky’s Alumni Entrepreneurs Growth Forum, an invite-only program that includes faculty-led sessions on topics of great interest to growth-stage entrepreneurs, such as scaling the sales organization, HR, leadership, organizational strategies, and company culture.

“As we continue to grow, we are fortunate to be able to tap into the University of Chicago’s resources and network,” said Rao. “We’ve hired talent from Chicago Booth and have participated in programming from the Polsky Center, which was incredibly valuable.”

Shyam Rao

Shyam Rao, MBA ’08, CEO and cofounder of marketing platform Punchh.

Beyond the thousands of restaurants marketing via the Punchh network in the United States, Punchh products are employed in markets as varied as Australia, Canada, Costa Rica, India, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore, and the United Kingdom. The company currently has over 270 employees and is based in San Mateo, California, with offices in Austin, Texas and Jaipur, India. With their new round of funding, Punchh wants to continue their expansion into new vertical markets including health and beauty, convenience stores, and gas stations.

Learn more about their funding raise here.

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