Miles was launched three years ago launched a free application The goal is a kind of rewards program for all trips – with an emphasis on clean traffic. Cover enough land by bike, bus, subway, or even on foot, and you’ll be rewarded with “miles” (i.e., points) that can be exchanged for benefits at Starbucks or discounts on services like Audi Silvercar.
I was curious, so I used Miles for a little over a year. I was living in New York at the time and did a lot of daily walking and subway driving from time to time biking and bus travel. I was in a great location to collect miles without having to change my habits, so I shook the annoying feeling of telling another app to know my location to see if random free coffee would be worth it.
It was never for me. Although Miles had bullied gift cards from Amazon, Target, and Starbucks, for example, the rewards I saw were always much less appealing or tangible. Do you know any kind of ads about the initial offers you hear in the middle of podcasts? They seemed to dominate the Miles app. I collected thousands of miles, but I had almost nothing to spend on them except temporarily free or discounted subscriptions to services like Hello Fresh.
Now Miles says it plans to change part of it. On Wednesday, it will announce a $ 12.5 million Series A financing round led by Scrum Ventures, which includes Japan Airlines, TransLink Capital and many others. The funding will help the beginner create an “Miles 2.0” app that includes many new and new benefits types fees – like eventually PayPal credits, airline miles or even cash.
First, however, Miles CEO Jigar Shah says Limit in an interview that the company has already made a lot of changes to the application, especially since the beginning of last year, when it had to change priorities during a pandemic. People around the world isolate themselves and both transit journey and vehicles miles dropped, Shah says Miles began adjusting his reward system to encourage already monitored outdoor activities where social distance was possible (such as walking, running and cycling). The Miles team also began working on drumming new prizes that don’t require physical deals. They brought in new partners, including streaming services like Disney Plus and FandangoNOW, as well as home start-ups like the wine company Winc.
“We went from nearly 40 to 60 different partnerships in 90 days in March, April and May last year,” Shah says. The Miles team also began pulling other levers, such as how many miles it cost to redeem certain rewards. It also added a charity where miles can be donated to non-profit organizations on the forum. If nonprofits collect enough miles, they get a profit right at startup. (Thresholds and fees vary for charity and are being negotiated with Miles.)
All of these changes accelerated Miles ’growth last year and until 2021, Shah says. More people used the app, and users redeemed more miles. Of the 12 billion miles collected by users to date, 3.5 billion has been redeemed for about 7 million in prizes, he says. Miles also says it has so far generated more than $ 200 million in revenue for its payroll partners. While it may be difficult to get these numbers, it is clear that they were at least convincing enough investors to come together for a Series A round.
Miles attracted new payroll partners along the way, which Shah said could help solve the problem I had with the app. On Wednesday, it will release even more, including Lego, Buffalo Wild Wings, Garmin, Sam’s Club, Chewy, Wayfair, Rover and HP. It still has plenty of subscription services, as some of its most recent contracts include ButcherBox, Harry’s Razors and Craftsy.
Shah admits that the balance was probably not right at the beginning. “I think [in the] In the early days, we built a marketplace, and it was about the quality of the market [versus] the size of the market, and I don’t think we could fight both, ”he says. “And we chose quantity at the time instead of quality of time.”
Originally, in 2018, continuous location tracking in exchange for awards was a reduction in pitch. In theory, this idea has only been obtained more full over the last three years reportage Motherboard and New York Times has revealed how much of a black market there is for producing accurate location data that our phones have created.
Miles claims it does not share location information with its payroll partners, and Shah takes his company’s position as a kind of intermediary seriously. “They’re getting zero data at the moment,” he says emphatically. “Even on a combined level, even on an anonymous level, they just don’t get anything. The only thing they get is to give a reward to our platform. “As Shah said in 2018, the selling point is that Miles has created a‘ proactive marketing artificial intelligence platform ’designed to match users to appropriate contracts based on their behavior – in a way a smarter version of the beacon.
The nearest mile will share information about people’s actual movements in relation to cities and transit agencies, Shah says. Then it is offered in an aggregated and abstract way. “[Say] In San Francisco, there are 14 percent of people who walk after a train ride, and their median walking distance is 0.7 miles. It forms the information that cities or transit offices get on the dashboard created by Miles, he says.
(Cities and vehicles may not have goods for sale, so Miles can create “challenges” in his app that encourage, for example, subway driving. For example, Miles can challenge users to take the subway instead of commuting to work in return for a reward from another partner.)
If you want to be optimistic about all of this, you can look at Miles as a vanguard trying to offer some a kind of compensation for tracking – some other application will probably already be done without your knowledge. A $ 5 Target gift card is nowhere near as advanced an idea as it is federal law that requires technology companies to replace people information during the use of their services. But that’s more than what we’re getting right now.
“It’s more than we get right now” is also a pretty bleak place to be. So Miles users have to decide if the compromise is worth it as all the company adds new commissions and continues to adjust the platform to shift the underlying balance. In this light, perhaps the best we can hope for may not be that users get free coffee every now and then, but that the promise of one will make a few more people experience driving a bus for the first time.