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Indie retailers take up m-payments app Yoyo, driven by student demand

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Cafe chain, Fernandez & Wells and Levantine Kitchen Hummus Bros are among the first retailers in London to roll out mobile payment and loyalty app, Yoyo.

The app, which is already live across Imperial College London’s South Kensington campus, and is in the process of being integrated at the universities of Greenwich and Westminster, will soon be available at a total of 62 retail outlets across the capital – with even more locations set to follow, including Brunel University.

The app will greatly simplify the process of paying for goods at Fernandez & Wells’ six London outlets, including its newest venture, a space inside fashion brand Jigsaw’s store on Duke Street, Mayfair. And, on top of cutting queues for coffee – particularly at peak times – Yoyo will provide Fernandez & Wells with a marketing and loyalty platform that enables it to reward frequent customers.

The founders of Fernandez & Wells, Rick Wells and Jorge Fernandez, first realised the potential of the mobile payment and loyalty solution when students from Imperial College London started asking to use the app in their Exhibition Road cafe.

“More and more of our Exhibition Road customers were asking if they could pay for food and coffees using their mobile phones,” said Rick Wells. “And of course it didn’t take us long to realise that we needed to speak to Yoyo.”

“It’s not just the speed and ease of payment that makes the platform perfect for Fernandez & Wells, it’s the ability to connect with each and every customer who uses Yoyo,” Wells continues. “Instead of offering a fairly random promotion to customers or stamping a loyalty card, I like the idea of being able to reward loyalty in a novel way. With Yoyo, we can encourage a regular to try something they might not normally have; a glass of chilled manzanilla, for example, or a plate of grilled padron peppers.”

Jon Hassall, managing director at Hummus Bros, adds: “I’ve met a number of companies offering us the next best thing in loyalty and payment, and in my mind, nothing comes close to Yoyo. As a retailer, it’s hard not to be impressed with the sheer amount of data and audience targeted marketing that the Yoyo platform provides. However, I was even more impressed with how easy it made things for our customers and staff.”

Total integration across Fernandez & Wells’ six cafes and Hummus Bros four London outlets is underway.

Founded in 2013 by Alain Falys (Founder of OB10, ex Visa), Dave Nicholson (Founder of Zopa, ex Egg) and Michael Rolph (ex PayPal, Barclaycard and First Data), and released earlier this year, Yoyo aims to simplify and speed up in-store transactions by combining payment and loyalty via one easy scan – resulting in a better customer experience.

The app is already in the process of being made available to 90,000 students across the capital, and is currently handling an average of more than 30,000 transactions per month across 32 food and drinks outlets at Imperial College London.

Michael Rolph, co-founder and CCO at Yoyo, says: “Fernandez & Wells and Hummus Bros are both fantastic and innovative brands with exceptional service and product. Through Yoyo we can enhance their customers experience by enabling simple and fast payment whilst delivering more personal rewards. Watch this space for more innovative retailers accepting Yoyo in the coming weeks!”

Last month, Yoyo announced that it had raised US$5m in seed funding, one of Europe’s largest seed funding rounds this year. The company is using the funds to continue to grow its partnership programme with Point of Sale software vendors and leading catering companies, before it looks to raise a Series A, later in the year.

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