In a bold venture at the intersection of social networking, consumer rewards, and real-world experiences, Claim, a pioneering rewards platform, has successfully raised $4 million in a seed funding round led by Sequoia Capital. Claim’s unique proposition goes beyond the conventional, aiming to infuse joy, rewards, and sociability into the shopping experience. This innovative startup platform, which operates as both a rewards app and a social network, has recently emerged from an invite-only beta phase in January, capturing the attention of users, particularly university and college students in Boston.
Claim’s core philosophy centers on making shopping not just transactional but enjoyable, rewarding, and inherently social. Founded by CEO Sam Obletz and CTO Tap Stephenson back in November 2021, the platform draws its roots from the founders’ exploration of digital ownership and the evolving landscape of web3. Obletz and Stephenson, former roommates at Yale and later reunited at Harvard Business School, envisioned a platform that transcends the digital realm, allowing users to truly own and interact with digital assets.
The founders started Claim because they were really interested in what it meant to own something online. To date, there has always been places where anyone can own something online, but there was never a generalized form of it. And so, their team founding team started asking: What would it mean to remove all friction to actually owning something online? And over time, that led to them creating Claim.
The platform’s essence lies in transforming consumer rewards into a multiplayer game, reminiscent of trading cards but tailored for brands. Claim introduces a novel dimension to the social mechanism, emphasizing real-world value and communal experiences over manufactured content and reposts.
Claim allows users and their friends to earn cash back, exchange rewards, and redeem them collectively, fostering a sense of shared value. It encourages users to focus on authentic, communal experiences rather than a barrage of sponsored content. The platform’s innovative approach positions it as a social network that values substance and genuine connections.
One of Claim’s distinctive features is its weekly “drop,” where users simultaneously unwrap a new reward, offering a communal experience akin to unwrapping surprise gifts. Users can choose to redeem, gift, or trade these rewards with friends. Claim’s vision extends beyond consumer benefits; it also aims to revolutionize how marketers and brands reach new customers, moving away from traditional advertising channels.
According to Obeltz, “We make it so much easier for marketers.” Claim can help find customers based on where they shop and where their friends shop too. If they haven’t gone before, they can give them a reward to go try out their brand for the first time, which is a critical component to bringing in real new customers. Claim can then show them how effective that reward was based on the actual spend, which makes it an insanely simple marketing tool.
To date, Claim has already garnered interest from prominent brands, including Fortune 500 companies like PepsiCo and local establishments such as Life Alive in Boston. The platform’s success is evident in its early results, with partners achieving significant milestones in customer acquisition and retention rates.
Currently focused on the Gen Z demographic, Claim envisions further testing and expansion within Boston, where it boasts over 10,000 users, before venturing into national markets. The recently secured $4 million in seed funding, led by Sequoia Capital, positions Claim to accelerate its growth trajectory, primarily through talent acquisition and further engineering advancements. The startup’s journey, marked by an unannounced $2 million pre-seed round, reflects a commitment to reshaping the consumer experience, merging digital ownership, real-world interactions, and a vibrant social community.