In her programme " La France Bouge", Elisabeth Assayag invites entrepreneurs to present their innovative project to a jury composed of Nathalie Carré(CCI France) and a "boss of the day". Entrepreneurship experts and experienced business leaders will evaluate a project and challenge the person who is behind it. On 22 February, Sorewards took part in the exercise, represented by its co-founder, Tancrède du Réau. He was welcomed by Carole Ferry, Nathalie Carré, and Philippe Brassac (General Manager of the Crédit Agricole Group).
Carole Ferry : Every day they try to convince you. To do this, they defend their case in front of Nathalie Carré, who will once again judge the qualities and defects of this project in front of the attentive eye of our witness of the day, the general manager of Crédit Agricole Philippe Brassac. Today on the stage Tancrède du Réau! You are 45 years old, you live in Nantes, you have lived in the countryside for a long time, your mother worked for UNICEF: milestones that have made you aware of sustainable development and solidarity. And then in 2018 you launched Sorewards with your brother, it's a universal and solidarity gift card. So what is it about? You have 1 minute to explain it to us, it's your turn!
Tancrède du Réau: It is a universal gift card for companies and works councils. It is a 100% dematerialised gift card, with no plastic, no paper, and it is indeed universal because it is backed by the Visa network. It is accepted in 40 million shops, local shops and also large shops in France and abroad.
Moreover, it is a solidarity project, which is the heart of the project. So why is it solidarity-based? Because in fact it allows companies and employees to support great causes through donations and this allows us to enter into the CSR approach, to give more meaning. How does it work in practice? The company will offer a gift card to its employees or customers and the latter will be able to donate all or part of the amount of the gift card to associations of general interest or public utility. Our objective is to redirect the billion euros lost each year in gift cards - which is quite colossal - to associations.
Carole Ferry : Thank you for your pitch, so like every day it's Nathalie Carré who looks at your file and tells us what its strengths and weaknesses are!
Nathalie Carré : It's true that traditional gift vouchers take up space in the wallet, so we put them in a cupboard and then forget about them! And indeed, more than 20% of gift vouchers are never used, so with an application in your phone you always have it with you. Bravo for this dematerialized aspect which also limits the manufacturing costs and therefore the ecological impacts. So a few suggestions: more and more restaurant vouchers also offer gift cards for their employees. What advantage do you offer? Explain what happens today when people don't use their gift vouchers? The beneficiaries lose their gifts - that much is known - but who also loses? Give explanations to convince people of the interest of your solution.
How do you select the associations, is there a charter for example? We know that the French prefer to give to associations they know. Could a company give to associations managed by its employees? There are plenty of association managers in companies, it strengthens the links between colleagues. Make use cases also to show the ease of initialisation, the cost for 100 cards for example, the ease of managing the cards, in fact they are not cards but accounts: do we have a lifetime account that the company recharges? Or by donations to associations, how does it work?
And finally, you insist on the solidarity aspect and you explain that the unspent sums are given to associations. to the associations. But one of the arguments of your solution is that there are fewer unspent amounts. So on average, how much do you pay back to these associations? In short, more explanations to save time for all the companies that might be interested!
Tancrède du Réau: In fact, today we are trying to reconcile the best of fintech, the user experience in terms of the gift card and solidarity. As you said, today there are more and more cards in the form of meal vouchers, for example dematerialised. What we are proposing is this same experience but through a gift card that can be adapted both internally, since it meets the needs of rewarding employees, and externally. Sorewards can also be offered in the context of customer loyalty and sales challenges. Today, we have clients that we accompany in particular in outsourced rewards. That is to say, it is a reward that is offered to people who are not employees. To answer your question, we have completely reviewed the economic model. We have completely overhauled it, so we don't get paid either on the non-consumption - which represents 20% as you mentioned - or on the commission for bringing in business from a network of brands and stores.
Carole Ferry : So how do you finance yourselves?
Tancrède du Réau: That's a good question. We get our funding from companies and works councils, because we think that they should bear the cost and not pass it on to the gift card recipients or the acceptance network.
Carole Ferry: And in use, do customers actually go and make donations or go to local shops? Have you been able to see this?
Tancrède du Réau: Absolutely, because - I don't know if you can see it - but the donation is put forward, we have set up a partnership with about twenty associations. These are both international solidarity and local associations. We aim to develop these partnerships. I'd like to specify one thing, that we propose associations but we also have client companies that already defend causes - I think that Crédit Agricole defends causes - they are proactive, as in the case of a company, a large player in the food industry, which said to us "I wish to support the Restos du coeur and I even wish to match the donations made by the beneficiaries of the gift cards to this association. I just wanted to finish by saying that the associations clearly see their interest in this. In fact, we are becoming a system similar to microDON, the rounding up and what is interesting is that they are playing the game in terms of communication. The more they communicate with the beneficiaries of the gift cards who have money in their hands, the more we will transform the donation. I remind you that there are two ways of giving: either it is the recipient of the gift card who gives, or it is the company through the unused portion which is paid to the association.
Carole Ferry : Philippe Brassac, General Manager of Crédit Agricole, what do you think? It's like a new means of payment that Tancrède du Réau is proposing?
Philippe Brassac : It's a pleasure to listen to that. It is sometimes said that the purpose of a company is to undertake and therefore to participate in the material progress of society through innovation. People often think that this is theoretical. In fact, it is very concrete! And the leaders of start-ups like this always start with a new use for society. The only advice I can give is that when you are going to succeed, there are centrifugal forces that will take you away from operationality. You really have to stick to the customer's use, to your utility, because utility is the most beautiful and hardest law of the markets.