Loylap ensures that cash is no longer king

Trish Dromey

LoyLap is looking to enter the US market with its cashless payment systems, writes Trish Dromey.

Loylap ensures that cash is no longer king

Dublin Fintech company LoyLap plans to target banks and large organisations in the US with technology it developed to provide the Central Bank with a cashless payment system for staff members.

Set up in 2012, the company initially went to market with loyalty and reward payment solutions for small businesses such as restaurants and cafés, but later developed its technology to include cashless payment systems for large company offices.

“We now have just under 1,000 customers. The majority of these use our loyalty and gift card solutions, while 12 are larger companies who are now using our cashless payment systems within their buildings and campuses,” said company co-founder and CEO Patrick Garry.

Customers using the loyalty product are mainly quick-service restaurants and cafés, including Esquires café chain.

Customers for cashless payment systems include Brook Food Services in Cork and AIB.

“We have recently installed a cashless system at AIB bank which is being used by 8,000 staff across eight sites,” said Mr Garry.

Moving in to the UK market in 2017, LoyLap developed a cashless payment system for Bannatyne Health and Fitness group, which is now used at 80 sites and allows gym users to use their membership wristbands to pay for purchases at cafés and vending machines in its gyms.

Employing a staff of 14, LoyLap has, according to Mr Garry, achieved growth of 300% per annum for the last two years and is set to achieve 100% growth this year.

Back in 2012, Mr Garry and LoyLap co-founder and chief technology officer Conor O’Toole observed that technology allowed online businesses to engage more with their customers and also to garner a lot more information about them than was possible for their bricks and mortar counterparts.

We created a loyalty app which is designed to give our customers the same level of understating of their customers as online businesses have — to identify their best ones, to offer them rewards and discounts, and to engage with them

At that time reward cards had already been introduced by large supermarkets, but small companies didn’t have the technology for this, and the founders saw an opportunity to develop a loyalty product for small businesses such as cafés, which sell high volumes of low-priced products.

Using their own funding to set up at the Guinness Enterprise Centre in Dublin, the founders created a loyalty app and launched a beta version of the product at the end of 2013.

This involved the use of the tablet, but they realised that to be effective their software needed to be integrated with point of sale (POS) technology. This became possible when LoyLap partnered with AIB Merchant Services which launched a new POS system called Clover in 2014.

Offering loyalty as well as gift card services through this POS system, LoyLap took on more customers and in 2017 partnered with AIB Merchant Services in tendering for the contract to develop a cashless system to be used by staff at the Central Bank headquarters.

Since winning that contract, the company has been targeting large organisations in Ireland and the UK with its cashless systems. In July this year, it opened an office in London with a staff of one.

The next step will be to open an office in the US.

“We now have a small number of customers for our loyalty services in the US and are aiming to develop sales of our cashless payments systems to banks and other large organisations there.

“By the end of 2019, we plan to open a US office with a staff of two or three,” said Mr Garry, adding that he also hopes to double the company staff size in the next two years.

While LoyLap is actively marketing its cashless system, Mr Garry says that it is continuing to grow sales of its loyalty system, with much of the growth coming from customers who download the LoyLap app from the company website.

In the long term, he sees the potential to establish LoyLap as a leading alternative payments provider for the 21st century and to grow sales to €20m within five years.

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