AUSTRALIA. Travel retail technology company SkyBuys has acquired technology partner RainCheck for cash and scrip (a temporary document that represents a portion of a share of stock).
On completion, RainCheck shareholders, including co-founders, will account for around 30 per cent of the merged group.
The companies have worked together since 2017, during which time SkyBuys established a strong working relationship with the RainCheck directors and their investors. RainCheck developed the mobile commerce technology that SkyBuys’ duty free platform and app was built on, and the RainCheck team will be an important part of the SkyBuys’ technology build going forward.
RainCheck co-founder Cameron Wall, a technology professional who has spent the last two decades building mobile retail and loyalty programmes, will join the SkyBuys core advisory team in a non-executive role. This team is comprised of professionals with extensive experience across travel retail, airport and technology sectors, including Philip Corne (ex-CEO Louis Vuitton Oceania), Glyn Williams (ex-GM of Sydney Airport retail), and Georg Hinterleitner (ex-APAC GTR Director of Moët Hennessy).
The acquisition of RainCheck by SkyBuys follows a number of successful joint projects, including a proof of concept with Airbus in Hamburg. The deal is timed to exploit the trend to digital and contactless transactions across the aviation industry following the COVID-19 pandemic.
Travel retailers expect a material increase in online transactions next year, and the SkyBuys app is well positioned to gain traction as passengers will rely more on their smartphones to shop for duty free, SkyBuys said.
SkyBuys CEO Alec Kemmery said that the RainCheck mobile commerce technology has a variety of applications within the US$80 billion global travel retail market. SkyBuys’ initial focus will be the application of the technology in duty free transactions and payments.
“The technology has the ability to engage with passengers before, during and after travel,” Kemmery said. “SkyBuys captures real-time, contextual and relevant data so we can learn more about passengers and products, and this will allow brands and retailers to maximise duty free opportunities as international travel reopens.”
SkyBuys said that it has secured the interest of global groups and leading brands in its online platform. Several trials and proof of concept projects are set to commence with SkyBuys across Australian and regional airports after COVID-19 travel restrictions are lifted.
Based in Sydney, SkyBuys is an online-to-offline app and platform for duty free and travel retail.
The SkyBuys concept was accelerated by global aviation group Airbus through the global aviation group’s innovation hub in Germany, where SkyBuys was also a finalist in the 2018 Lufthansa/SAP aviation technology challenge.
In 2019, Sydney Airport represented SkyBuys’ first airport initiative with global concessionaire Heinemann.
Currently, other concessionaires, travel retailers and global brands are in various stages of preparation with SkyBuys for projects expected to commence during 2021.
The SkyBuys app has been developed for international passengers to shop for duty free at any stage of their journey, including inflight.
In addition to supporting contactless transactions, the SkyBuys app allows passengers to search and purchase duty free inventory in-app from the time they receive their ticket through to the time they arrive at their destination, with fulfilment at collection points at duty free shops in airports or downtown.