Anne Ferris, Cathaoirleach of the Bray Municipal District Council, David Forde of the Bray town management team, Conor O’Leary from Purple House and Urban X marked the Finnbees rewards launch occasion with a socially distant coffee and dance off on Bray seafront. Finnbees has collaborated with VillagePod to offer customers a contactless solution for payment, gifting and rewards while also supporting Purple House Cancer support with a donation of each payment made through VillagePod.
Paul Finnegan of Finnbees has been serving award winning coffee for over ten years from the sea front in Bray while playing an active role in the Bray community. Paul stated: ‘We have been overjoyed with the local response to our reopening since the lockdown, with strict COVID – 19 protection measures in place moving to contactless rewards was the next step. Customers can now pay contactlessly using the VillagePod app with the reward stamps for purchase applied directly onto their app. No stamp cards, no contact and all the benefits of being a Finnbees customer still in place.’
In this launch period, Finnbees are rewarding all customers with free stamps so once they pay with VillagePod they are already on the way to achieving their free hot drink. Gifts can also be sent through the app and Finnbees are offering a special promotional Gift Card, purchased for €20 with a value of €22. VillagePod Gift Cards are uniquely designed to suit all occasions, sent through the app to be used by the lucky recipient. Contactless Gifting, no postage stamp required, all that is needed is a phone number and the app does the rest.
Cormac McKenna, the CEO of VillagePod stated ‘it has been an uncertain time for all businesses. VillagePod is supporting the local business community with a contactless platform for payments, gifting and rewards, with no cost to the customer and benefits to locally active causes. Having launched VillagePod in November we are delighted to be in over 80 businesses in the North Wicklow area with more contacting us daily.’
Minister Harris sent his best wishes stating “It is great to see local businesses pulling together at such a difficult time to ensure their customers are safe while getting the benefits of shopping local. I am delighted to be able to support Cormac and the team at Village Pod. Cormac launched Village Pod before the onset of COVID and his app has been a lifeline to local shoppers and business. I encourage as many people as possible to shop local and to download the Village Pod App”
The Urban X Hip Hop dance crew marked the occasion with a socially distant dance off and celebrated Finnbees rewards with amazing Boston Donuts.
About VillagePod – The Business
VillagePod operates a payments, gifting and rewards platform aimed at small businesses that seek to foster the goodwill that local people have for them as local businesses. The business was established by Cormac McKenna in early 2019. The business currently employs five people from its Bray, Co. Wicklow base.
The business operates under the EU Payment Services Directive ‘Limited Network Exclusion’ which allows payments platforms to operate in limited areas without formal licensing. The company is currently awaiting approval from the Central Bank of Ireland for a licence that, when granted, will allow it to expand into other markets throughout the European Union.
VillagePod commenced a pilot in north Wicklow in November 2019 which allowed it to test consumer and business response. Following this pilot, and following approaches from businesses around the country, it has planned a rollout to other towns around Ireland for later this year.
About VillagePod – The Platform
The VillagePod platform was conceived and developed as a result of a recognition that local businesses would benefit from a platform that champions them and addresses the technology and marketing disadvantage that many local businesses experience. The platform aims to help people make spending local a day to day habit for consumers. In its pilot area in north Wicklow it is used as a payment method in more than 60 outlets.
The platform works by allowing consumers to top up the app from their bank accounts. Users can then pay or gift using a digital wallet. Retailers can transact with consumers using a tablet, smartphone or point of sale system integration. Consumers can purchase gift cards issued by individual retailers and will shortly be able to purchase ‘local area’ gift cards which can be redeemed across the VillagePod network.
A core feature of the platform is the nomination by each retailer of a local ‘cause’ – such as a charity, sports club or school – which the retailer supports with 0.5% of the transaction value each time a consumer makes a purchase. Overall costs for business for accepting payments are similar to a typical charge for accepting a credit card.
About the VillagePod Founders
The VillagePod platform was co-founded by Cormac McKenna (CEO) and Marijus Plančiūnas (CTO). Prior to founding VillagePod, the pair were part of the management team of MummyPages, Ireland’s leading website for mothers. Cormac McKenna was one of the founders of MummyPages alongside his wife Sandra McKenna. Prior to co-founding MummyPages he worked in various financial roles including with JP Morgan Chase and KBC Bank.