Wishcard Technologies: Creating Europe’s favourite gifts and rewards platform
sold each year
redemption partners and 90k points of sale
voucher sales growth
The company has experienced phenomenal growth thanks to its market-beating combination of over 500 redemption partners and an omnipresent distribution network.
Wishcard’s exceptional position makes it well-placed to take advantage of a growing global market worth €200 billion today.
Why we invested in the business
Oakley has a deep track record partnering with ambitious entrepreneurs and high-growth, digital consumer businesses in attractive markets.
Wishcard combines all these elements: the market for gift cards is seeing double-digit growth as consumers embrace their convenience and flexibility; and Wishcard meets a clear market need and enjoys unique competitive advantages.
Oakley was also impressed by the founders Tom Schröder and Valentin Schütt: they were looking for an experienced, entrepreneurial private equity partner to help them build the required structure, processes and professionalisation needed to achieve the next stage of growth. After tracking the business over several months, we signed a deal to acquire a majority stake in the business in August 2019.
Recipe for success
Wishcard enjoys several, crucial advantages which have underpinned and will continue to propel its strong growth:
- Broad distribution at the highest footfall locations with over 90,000 points of sale, including all leading supermarkets, petrol stations and other retail chains across its core markets in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Italy. Wishcard also has a growing B2B business with leading bluechip companies using its gift cards to incentivise employees and customers. The Company also sells digital vouchers direct to consumers via its website
- 500 redemption partners and counting. No other provider offers so much choice to customers, who can choose to redeem their vouchers with an incredible range of products, services and experiences from Amazon to Zalando to Ikea and everything in between
- These unique advantages combine to deeply embed Wischard with its partners and create a flywheel effect that propels growth ever higher: consumers are attracted to Wishcard’s growing pool of brands; increasing voucher sales attract new partners; meanwhile, retail partners have little incentive to switch to less popular platforms with fewer redemption partners
Entrepreneurs often chose to partner with Oakley because we have a strong track record helping to professionalise businesses. Wishcard’s founders were looking for a partner that would help them transition from managing the business day-to-day and step up to Advisory Board roles. Our investment in proven value creation drivers including recruiting the best talent, introducing controls and processes, and prioritising governance have strengthened the business, supported its strategic goals, and laid the necessary infrastructure to support the Company’s substantial growth trajectory over the longer term
- Leadership development – Oakley will often strengthen management by building out a team to support entrepreneurs who want to continue running the business they founded. In the case of Wishcard, we leveraged our extensive network to assemble an entirely new C-suite for the business, recruiting former Corporate VP of Digital at McDonalds Christoph Homann as CEO, as well as the Company’s CFO, COO, CMO and head of B2B Sales.
- Performance improvement – monthly management accounts are a vital tool to steer strategic direction and empower effective decision making. Oakley helped to professionalise Wishcard’s finance function, introducing monthly management reporting and helping the finance team to develop a set of revenue KPIs. Having accurate financial information empowered the team to develop and invest in an online digital marketing strategy, which is driving digital voucher sales.
- Governance – Incorporating ESG factors can help to de-risk investments and create long term investment value. Oakley has worked with Wishcard to strengthen governance by building an Advisory Board, including Vodafone Germany CEO Hannes Ametsreiter, in order to provide oversight and strategic guidance.
The results of this investment are evident: Wishcard’s voucher sales have grown 144% CAGR during 2016 to 2021. The Company has also secured lending facilities from a bluechip bank, a ‘vote of confidence’ and valuable third-party endorsement of its professionalisation process.
What's next for Wishcard?
Oakley and Wishcard see enormous opportunity to grow and diversify the business further, seizing a larger share of a growing €30 billion gift card and voucher market in Europe, and a wider global gifting and rewarding opportunity worth as much as €200 billion.
We see multiple vectors for growth, firstly by expanding Wishcard’s B2C market leadership in the DACH market as well as addressing different consumer segments including with beauty and sports-focused vouchers.
Building relationships with new corporate partners and growing the product portfolio will help accelerate Wishcard’s B2B rollout. There is also an opportunity to continue Wishcard’s expansion into new geographies, both organically and through M&A.
Oakley looks forward to continuing its successful partnership with Wishcard and helping the business realise its full potential.