Nift, a start-up network designed to help SMBs match neighborhood businesses with local customers by leveraging AI machine learning algorithms, has raised $16.5 million in Series A funding from Spark Capital, Foundry Group and Accomplice.
The new capital will fund Nift’s plans to expand nationally. The company will open five new markets and intends to increase its team by 400% in the next 12 months. With the new infusion of capital, the company aims to fortify a community of local retailers against Amazon.
Nift allows local merchants to give their customers gift cards that are redeemable at other area businesses. Shoppers can choose from among a range of options and pay in-store using their mobile phones.
“We want to give power back to Main Street businesses and help fuel the growth of local economies by banding these businesses together,” said Elery Pfeffer, Founder and CEO of Nift in a statement. “The social community contract, inherent to the way we shop, never left local merchants. Now Nift is imbuing it with sophisticated machine learning technology to help these businesses get discovered, build affinity and bring quality customers in the door.”