Loyalty solutions firms Thriwe aims to double down on Middle East

India-based Thriwe is a consumer benefits and rewards marketplace with offices in Delhi, UAE, and Singapore. It plans to expand in the Middle East in markets such as Egypt, Oman and Qatar.

Loyalty solutions firms Thriwe aims to double down on Middle East

Monday January 08, 2024,

6 min Read

India-based loyalty solutions and consumer benefits startup Thriwe strives to double down on investments in the Middle East. It plans to invest $25 million to $30 million on expansion in the region, including markets such as Egypt, Oman, and Qatar, in the next 18-24 months.

The New Delhi-headquartered tech-enabled B2B startup curates, executes, and manages consumer membership programmes across the sectors of travel, wellness, lifestyle, sports, and dining solutions. It acts as a centralised interface between businesses and customers, facilitating the implementation and administration of loyalty initiatives by various brands. 

The digital platform, which established in 2011, is driven by business intelligence and data analytics to offer customers tailored offerings and benefits across categories–based on their preferences and shopping behaviour–which can be redeemed online or offline.

Thriwe, which entered the UAE in 2015, serves 1.5 million customers through 15 clients, including major banks such as Emirates NBD, FAB, Emirates Islamic, Commercial Bank of Dubai, and Mashreq Bank. The platform also manages over 1,000 brands in the UAE, including gyms, spas, hotels such as JW Marriott, airport lounges, and golf courses.

India and the UAE together contribute 80% of Thriwe’s business. The remaining business comes from markets including Singapore, London, and Florida.

Thriwe is eyeing a revenue of $15 million in the UAE this year and plans to invest $15 million in the market. 

Dhruv Verma and Swati Sharma, the founders of Thriwe, chose the UAE as a key market after India for its proximity to India, strong connectivity, and its promising future as a hub for corporate expansion and mass product consumption.

Now the company is all set to expand across the Gulf region

Thrive recently launched its platform in Saudi Arabia and partnered with a large business group and family in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Oman, and Qatar. Within two months, the company has garnered over 20,000 partners in sectors such as banking, insurance, and consumer durables.

“Organisations in Saudi Arabia are seeking innovative ways to reach new customers and retain existing ones in a competitive business landscape. Our vision is to offer a user-friendly and customisable platform in Saudi Arabia that fosters strong customer relationships, drives loyalty, and enhances retention,” says Verma, founder and CEO of Thriwe.

The company is targeting a revenue of $20 million over the next 12 months from the Saudi Arabia market.

Business model and growth

While existing platforms predominantly focus on specific niches, such as travel miles or shopping vouchers, there is a substantial opportunity to address a broader spectrum within the rewards market, says Verma, who has experience across sales management and startup leadership. 

“We aim to fill the gaps by providing a diverse range of rewards for customers to choose from,” he says. 

Formerly known as GolfLan, Thriwe was originally founded to improve access to golfing facilities in India, Middle East, and Southeast Asia. 

“Being an avid golfer, I struggled with identifying, exploring, and accessing golf facilities in India, especially after experiencing the convenience offered by Western countries. He felt a clear need gap. This led to the foundation of GolfLan, a B2C membership network connecting golfers and golf facilities,” elaborates Verma. 

Later on, the B2B business model was expanded beyond golf, leading to the transition to Thriwe. 

“Customer data is crucial for businesses, and its security and responsible management are essential for retaining and attracting customers. Our commitment to modern data compliance has led to strong partnerships with businesses across sectors,” says Verma. 

Thriwe today has a network of over 2 lakh partners around the world, including brands such as Uber, Careem, Noon, Amazon and various airport lounges. The startup also has partnerships with institutions such as Amex, MasterCard, Visa, HSBC, Standard Chartered, HDFC Bank, Axis Bank, Mashreq Bank, and Union Pay. Its partner network spans over 130 countries, across various sectors including sports, travel, digital services, lifestyle, dining, and wellness. 

The startup generates revenue through brand partnerships. Clients pay for golf games, travel service, platform development, and bundled digital perks.

Apart from the B2B platform, Thriwe also operates Surge, a B2B app, which was launched in September last year. Surge allows customers to redeem points garnered across various points of sales–from categories such as sports, hospitality, fashion, entertainment, consumer durables, grocery stores, and airlines–regardless of how they were collected. 

The Surge platform has onboarded Bombay Suburban Electric Supply as a client and plans to launch over 25 brands within 12 months, with a goal of serving 15 million customers in India.

Market and challenges 

The global loyalty management market, according to Fortune Business Insights, is expected to grow from $6.47 billion in 2023 to $28.65 billion by 2030.

As per Future Market Insight, the loyalty programme market in India is estimated to top $3,363.4 million in 2023 and reach $14,502.6 million by 2033, at a CAGR of 15.7%, while Research and Markets pegs the loyalty market in the UAE at $1,423.7 million in 2023.

Despite the huge market opportunity, the company has to deal with challenges in operations–with respect to innovating its product offerings and establishing a supply chain across various regions. It also has to contend with language barriers and people’s perceptions of profit. 

“Along with that, there is also some margin compression we are facing in India which gets compensated by revenue from international markets. The Middle East will be the key in terms of expanding the margin base and delivering a profitable organisation to our investors,” points out Verma. 

Thriwe has offices in New Delhi, UAE, Singapore, London, and Florida. It raised $1 million from  YourNest Angel Fund in 2015 and $1 million from ISON, an Africa-based information technology group in 2016. 

The startup expects to clock a total revenue of $180 million this year and is gearing up for a possible listing in the Indian public markets by January 2025. It also aims to raise $15 million to $20 million over the next 12 months and serve over 30 million customers globally by next year.

The startup competes with players such as Rewards 360, Loyalty Rewardz and Dreamfolks, Epsilon, and Collinson.

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Edited by Swetha Kannan

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