Our investment in Swiipr

Investment thesis

  • When flight disruptions occur, getting compensation and care payments to passengers is a challenge for airlines and travellers alike. With many airlines operating on manual, legacy systems, verification and payouts are time-consuming. Passengers can wait months to receive owed payments – a frustrating experience for all.
  • Swiipr’s integrated platform bridges a gap for airlines, automating verification and disbursement of payments. The company issues passengers with virtual and physical prepaid compensation cards, enabling instant flexible spending compared to one-time paper vouchers or clunky payments. It also offers crew and crisis payment solution, allowing airlines to quickly and efficiently disburse payments worldwide directly to their crewmembers.
  • For passengers, this means quick compensation they can easily use. For airlines, it means lower processing costs and better customer service. Swiipr also integrates into airline Customer Relationship Management (CRMs) processes, making it a mission critical partner to airlines.
  • It’s been 20 years since the implementation of EU Air Passenger Rights Regulation 261/2004. Since then, growing levels of airline disruption have led to greater regulation around the world. Around 5bn passengers travel by air every year, but only 1-2% of those disrupted receive compensation. With hundreds of millions of passengers facing disruption and costing airlines billions annually, Swiipr’s platform has the massive opportunity to offer an essential solution here. Even beyond disruptions, Swiipr has an exciting opportunity to deliver solutions to other forms of airline payments or expand it solutions the similar payment challenges in other transport industries.

Who are the Pioneers?

Swiipr’s founders bring deep expertise in the payments and travel industries to bear on tackling the airline compensation challenge.

Tara Spielhagen, Swiipr’s co-founder and CEO, has led the company since it was founded in 2019. Her varied and storied career, across multiple industries, has given way to tight focus on her idea of bringing an industry-specialised payment product to market, capable of delivering excellent user experiences and meeting the shifting demands of global travellers.

Tara partnered with Ian Clowes, Swiipr’s co-founder and Executive Chairman. An entrepreneur, and seasoned veteran of the payments industry, Ian spent 16 years at Abbey National, including time in the role of Director of Group Payment Services. He went on to found and scale digital payments company Payment Cloud Technologies, which merged with Tuxedo Money to form Omnio Group.

In the wake of the extraordinary disruption of the COVID pandemic, Swiipr exhibited impressive commercial momentum, signing a number of high-profile airlines to the platform. Today, the business services over 26 businesses in more than 70 countries, covering 200 airports.

Tara and Ian are raising capital to accelerate their new product development and deepen market penetration.

Why us

We led Swiipr’s £6m Series A round (with participation from Solano Partners and TX Ventures) because we were excited by the potential for their travel-focused digital payments solution to offer an order-of-magnitude improvement on managing compensation payments. With the range of use-cases spanning delay, denied boarding, lost luggage, transport and meal vouchers and goodwill gestures, amongst others, we believe Swiipr truly offers something different. Its mission-critical product offering will fundamentally transform compensation payments and processes for the airline industry and beyond.

As a registered B-Corp, Octopus Ventures is dedicated to backing the people, ideas and industries that are changing the world. Building a better world means supporting individuals and empowering them with the help they need to thrive. By facilitating compensation digitally, Swiipr empowers both passengers and airlines through increased efficiency, improved experiences and transparent automated processes.

We’re proud to be backing the Swiipr team and look forward to playing our part, working closely with Ian and Tara as they secure the talent they need to help their business scale – and transform the airline industry. With travel disruption affecting millions of passengers every year, streamlining their route to compensation promises to improve their experiences and build trust in the industry. Congratulations to the Swiipr team – we can’t wait to see the altitude you reach.

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