SparkPlug, a retail technology startup based in San Francisco, has raised $2.5 million in seed funding to change how frontline workers receive incentives for performance.
The round brings the total funding raised by the startup to $3.5 million with participation from TenOneTen Ventures, Jason Calacanis, and Argonautic Ventures; co-founders from Shift, Applied Semantics, Social Native, and Factual; and executives at Foursquare, DoorDash, Xerox PARC, and Facebook. Minnie Ingersoll, Partner at TenOneTen, referred to the firm’s participation by stating:
“This was a no-brainer for us. Brick and mortar retail is an enormous market undergoing massive changes — brands need new, cost-effective avenues for expansion, and retailers are struggling to find an economic model that can support both them and their workers while facing COVID headwinds and historic labor shortages. SparkPlug solves those problems simultaneously by allowing frontline workers to monetize their sales performance on behalf of consumer brands. “
SparkPlug was the top-ranked startup coming out of LAUNCH accelerator’s 20th cohort. Having launched its platform in 2020, the startup has developed a gamified employee rewards and campaign management platform that has shown to be highly effective at increasing revenue and employee retention by rewarding good performance. Andrew Duffy, SparkPlug CEO and co-founder, said about how the funding will help the startup achieve its mission:
“The funding comes at a critical time. The labor crisis has left restaurants and retail stores struggling to attract and retain enough in-person workers, making it even more difficult to generate the sales they need to survive. The pandemic’s frontline workers are frustrated, fed-up and in need of a better compensation package that makes it worthwhile for them to sign on and stick around. SparkPlug turns both of these challenges into huge opportunities for retailers, restaurants, and consumer brands.”
With the digitalization of the shopping experience as more people opt to use apps and online platforms to acquire goods, retention in the brick and mortar retail industry is at an all-time low. By incentivizing employees to provide a better experience, physical stores can capitalize on the consumer base that prioritizes the personal touch over the convenience of digital solutions. SparkPlug believes it can become a major player when it comes to ensuring the future success of these stores, allowing all the parties involved to benefit in the process.