[INTERVIEW] Ampli’s Co-Founder

Today, we feature Darby Sieben, co-founder and head of Ampli. Use this promo Code for an additional $5 cash back bonus: AMPLI5 and please support Pointshogger using our referral link as well! Darby will share with us how Ampli works and answer some of the concerns that people have had with the App. Thank you Darby for taking the time to answer our questions. 

Q: Please tell us about yourself. Why did you create Ampli?

My name is Darby Sieben, co-founder and head of Ampli. In my role, I am responsible for the creation, launch and scaling of Ampli.

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Q: Please tell us about Ampli works and what is the affiliation with RBC?

From a consumer perspective, Ampli is all about maximizing earning potential from your spend. For members, after they download our application and link their bank account, we use a watch and match technology to find transactions for brands on the Ampli platform and award cashback on eligible purchases. We are very transparent with members about why we require this information – this means no offer loading, no receipt scanning, no waiting for cheques to arrive in the mail. Moreover, this allows us to bring our members offers that are relevant to them. It is also worth noting that the information we see is the same information that a member sees when they get their credit card statement. Linking a  bank account,  gives Ampli read-only access to this information. RBC Ampli Inc is a wholly owned subsidiary of RBC Bank so our focus on protecting user information and security is our top priority.

Q: What makes Ampli different from other similar Apps?

Ampli is focused on 2 areas that will create the most value for members. The first is ease of use. We don’t want members to have to show yet another card when shopping or have to manage another points currency. We have really simplified the program to focus on three areas; a) how do we complement existing member behavior and not add more friction b) how do we provide a platform that can scale to the largest breadth of merchants who are interested in reaching an audience whether it’s national, local, in-store, or online and c) personalization so that members are presented with both content (deals) and incentives that will be relevant to them. Similar to search data, today consumers give all of their search intent data away for free, and in exchange for this “data” they get access to relevant information.  In the case of Ampli, members exchange with us purchase data in return for earning cash back and getting hyper relevant offers.

Q: Would like to address some of the concerns mentioned in the review section when downloading the App?

The main concerns that we hear from members can be broken down into the following buckets.

Why do I have to link my bank account?

The reason is simple, this is the mechanism that allows us to award users with cash. The technology that we use for linking your bank information has been around for over 20-years and actually started in the B2B world for the primary use case of businesses automatically pulling their bank information into their accounting software. Ampli uses the same technology so that when a member links their bank account, they are redirected to a third party who validates the information and then provides Ampli a view into their transactions. Ampli does not store or have access members’ credentials.  We are basically given read-only access which the member can turn off at any point. We use this data for two primary reasons; first to award cash based on your purchases and second to personalize the experience for members. It’s worth noting that we don’t sell any data and any data that we use is on an aggregate level so that no transaction data can be associated with a specific member. We believe this is the evolution of data sharing, where in the past users would give away their data for the access to a platform or information (think trading search data for results) to users wanting to monetize more of their data to create value for themselves.

Why does Ampli keep asking me to relink?

As described above, this problem exists in the B2B world as it does with companies like Ampli. Some common use cases regarding relinking has to do with Multi-Factor Authentication. MFA is a really good security feature and when you give third-parties like Ampli read-only access, they may be asked to re-authenticate or enter a MFA code. This is actually a good thing, as it helps keep your account safe, but will require members to have to relink their card. The good is that if you relink at least once per month, we will capture all the transaction data and reward you on those past purchases.

The merchant set is not big enough

We are continually adding more and more merchants to our platform. As Ampli continues to grow, more merchants are interested in reaching our members and providing value to them. So keep coming back! Our platform is dynamic and new merchants are being added daily.

Q: What can we look forward to in the near or medium future with Ampli?

Our roadmap is pretty exciting. We are looking at two main areas on the member experience side. The first is other ways for members to gain value from our platform outside of linking their bank account. We appreciate that some users are not comfortable doing this. We are thinking hard about what other exchange of value we can create to award members for spending at our partners. The second is that we have been focused on providing even more value to our members for shopping at our partner brands. Today, our cashout option is to send your cash back directly to your bank account with an e-transfer. We will be integrating the ability to cash-out for a second “amplification” to your favorite points program or gift card. You could imagine a world where a member has earned $20 in Ampli cash and then select a merchant and get a $30 gift card or $30 worth of points in their connected loyalty program. We think this is a very exciting opportunity where members can earn accelerated amounts on the earn side and then earn accelerated amounts on the redemption side.

Q: Thank you for your time, do you have any closing thoughts?

We are excited to continue to find ways to benefit our members and our merchant partners. We are just over 1-year old now and during this time have created significant value for consumers. We think more than ever, consumers are looking to find the most value from their spend and we are confident that Ampli will play a growing role in this mission. As outlined above, we have a very exciting roadmap ahead of us, so stay tuned for more to come in the upcoming months!

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