I have made it a bit of a tradition for myself to write a summary of how, in my perspective, the previous year has gone at Kard. I know, one more self-serving “insert company-name ’23 wrapped,” but I believe it’s important to take the time to truly reflect on what the year has brought for Kard and a rare chance for me to share our accomplishments.
We’ve gained significant steam this year, growing our merchant network, issuer base, our processing volume, and our stellar team. In short, we’ve set ourselves up to be the modern rewards platform of choice — for issuers and merchants alike.
Here’s a brief recap of all we’ve achieved this year and a window into what we’re working toward in 2024.
Hitting impressive scale
Less than two years ago, we crossed a major milestone: reaching over one million consumers.
Today, with our network of financial institutions, modern card issuers, and consumer fintechs, our platform is now being distributed to over fifteen million.
To support the growth of our consumer reach, we’ve also had to work incredibly hard to expand our merchant network. We now offer rewards that span entirely new verticals, including gas, QSR, grocery, retail, travel, subscription, D2C — and the list is growing every day.
None of this is possible without the work of our R&D team. All of this scale is great, but it also puts a lot of pressure on our systems. We’re now processing millions of transactions per day, and the work our team has done to bolster our infrastructure and streamline our operations is truly impressive.
As this database of transactions has grown, we quickly learned that there was immense value in the insights and behaviors we could extract from that data. We’ve built an entire team to work on this aspect of our platform. It’s an area we’ll be continually investing in this year, and I’m excited to share more as we weave our analytics engine into our product and GTM strategy.
Building an unstoppable team
Skyrocketing our growth took levels of planning, dedication, and execution that I’ve never seen before. I’m in awe of our team’s ability to get us here and continue scaling at this incredibly fast clip. To help drive this, we had several seasoned leaders join our team in 2023, including Shea Stringert and Gary Poster, taking the reins of our Merchant and Engineering orgs and bringing them to the next level. These folks have already made an immense impact, motivating and adding to our already skilled team. For example, under Gary’s leadership, we hired 14 excellent engineers and went from a data team of 2 analysts to a team of 7 data junkies, including data scientists, engineers, and analysts.
Overall, we had 29 new team members join the Kard Krew…not to mention we’ve become fully international. We now have a presence in 4 countries and 7 time zones!
But that geographical distance hasn’t hampered our team’s collaboration. I like to periodically look at our Slack stats to see just how much our team communicates, and we set a new record here as well this year with over 750,000 messages sent! This type of communication shows we’re staying close on not only things happening at work but also staying close to each other personally. Our #fun channels that highlight people’s new dogs, moves, babies, ski trips, weddings, and other adventures are always a blast for me to keep up with.
Sneak peek into 2024
We learned a lot last year from our team, our customers, and the market overall. First and foremost, as I alluded to earlier, is the power of the transactional database that we are building. Our merchants, brands, and advertisers are able to learn a lot about their customers, and our platform can intelligently surface the rewards, offers, and recommendations to consumers that drive profitable transactions and engender long-term loyalty.
2023 was a year where we continued to grow and establish ourselves in the modern issuer space, powering rewards and loyalty programs for many of the leading fintechs, challenger banks, and BaaS providers. But the platform we’re building can solve challenges for more than just the modern issuer segment, and we’ve made strong inroads into many of the leading traditional financial institutions in the country as well. We’re excited about our opportunity to reach more consumers and ensure even the largest banks, financial institutions, and their service providers are offering the most compelling rewards experience possible to their consumers.
In that vein, we’re launching several new products we’re super excited about. Keep up with us on our journey — we’ll be sharing the latest and greatest on LinkedIn, on top fintech podcasts, on our blog, and at conferences.