Miles is a loyalty platform that automatically rewards
consumers for their daily movement, such as walking, biking, riding in a car or
traveling by plane. Users can redeem rewards with Miles’ more than 75 partner
brands including Audible, Oakley, Silvercar, eBags and Toms.
has now raised more than $5.75 million with today’s announcement of new investments
from JetBlue Technology Ventures, Porsche Digital, Sony Innovation Fund and
SAIC, a Chinese automotive manufacturer.
Describe both the business and technology aspects of your
Miles is the world's first universal miles earnings program
– delivering value for every mile traveled, across every mode of
transportation, anywhere in the world. Designed to work seamlessly in the
background, the Miles app automatically logs each trip from point A to B and
the mode of transportation, while keeping data completely private.
easily view their miles earned per trip and receive personalized rewards with
leading brands across categories – redeemable either online or at a nearby
For consumers, it’s a loyalty platform that rewards daily
movement – with healthier and more eco-friendly modes of transport, such as
public transit, biking or even walking, and earn more miles than driving a car, for
example. For partners, Miles offers the opportunity to gain insights and
understand their customers' near-future needs as they travel and interact with
the physical world.
By leveraging our predictive artificial intelligence
platform, brands, transportation providers and cities can deliver value to
customers and surface relevant rewards within the app. This improves the
lifetime value by building more loyal customers and enhanced engagement.
With Miles, mobility is rewarded as a universal behavior. In
essence, we’ve created a new currency and marketplace where brands compete to
present users with relevant, local rewards in the moment.
What inspired you to create this company?
Every year, the average person travels thousands of miles
via some form of transportation. And yet, despite this, mobility is a universal
behavior that largely goes unrewarded. Solving for this gap in the market was
the big idea that led to the launch of Miles.
Available on Android and iOS, Miles allows anyone with a
smartphone to earn miles as they travel, redeemable for rewards with merchants,
retailers and transportation providers across categories. Whether by car (as a
driver, passenger or ride-share), plane, train, subway, bus, boat, bicycle or
on foot, Miles effortlessly awards your commute – with alternative or more
sustainable modes of transportation rewarded even further.
Give us your SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities,
Threats) analysis of the company.
- Strengths: One of Miles’ biggest strengths is the strong
organic growth we’re seeing. Our value proposition of earning miles automatically
for all your travel has really resonated with consumers. Since our initial
launch on iOS in July 2018, Miles users have earned more than 270 million
miles, redeeming approximately 40,000 rewards, with an average value of $20 per
Miles also has a fantastic team of advisors and investors
with more than $5.75 million in capital now raised. New investors include JetBlue
Technology Ventures, Porsche Digital, Sony Innovation Fund and SAIC, China’s
leading automotive manufacturer.
- Weaknesses: Our team at launch was relatively small, which
made it difficult to scale quickly enough to keep up with demand. Fast-forward
to today, and we’ve made a number of key hires across marketing, sales and
other areas. Going forward, you will continue to see us expand our strategic
partnerships as we continue to scale and grow the business.
- Opportunities: Today more than 75 brand partners offer 120-plus exclusive rewards on the platform - with the value of Miles increasing every
month as additional merchants accept them as a form of payment. Miles also partners with cities such as
Sacramento and Contra Costa Transportation Authority to offer bonus miles and
rewards to local commuters when they choose alternate or more sustainable forms
of transportation. In the future, we’re
excited to expand our partnerships with additional brands, transportation
providers and cities.
- Threats: We’re filling a gap in the market, rewarding
mobility as a universal behavior regardless of how people travel. There is no
other company doing what we’re doing in the market. Large companies like Google
could represent a threat in the future (or an opportunity) as the
transportation space continues to evolve.
What are the travel pain points you are trying to alleviate
from both the customer and the industry perspective?
Travel rewards are also siloed and limited to one form
travel – with consumers facing exclusions when it comes to earning and
redeeming rewards. In contrast to these siloed platforms, Miles delivers value
for every mile traveled, across every mode of travel, anywhere in the world.
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Whether by car (as a driver, passenger or ride-share), plane,
train, subway, bus, boat, bicycle or on foot, the Miles app effortlessly awards
users’ travel - regardless of where their journey takes them. In short, users
can earn the easiest rewards they’ve ever earned, simply by traveling however
they want daily.
Across the board, Miles rewards all of its users who choose
alternate forms of transportation. If a user carpools or takes a ride-share
service (i.e., Lyft or Uber), they earn 2x miles. Users who ride the train or
public transit receive 3x the miles. Ride a bike and receive 5x miles or choose
to walk or run and earn 10x miles.
So you've got the product, now how will you get lots of
Since our initial launch in July 2018, we have executed
tirelessly on our vision, and the value of Miles continues to grow for our tens
of thousands of users as well as partners. To date, Miles users have earned a
total of more than 270 million miles, redeeming approximately 40,000 rewards,
with an average value of $20 per reward.
In the future, Miles will continue to expand its
partnerships with major brands, retailers, cities and transportation providers,
offering more value to Miles users each month.
Tell us what process you've gone through to establish a
genuine need for your company and the size of the addressable market.
Today Miles partners with cities including Sacramento and
Contra Costa Transportation Authority to offer bonus miles and rewards to local
commuters when they choose alternate or more sustainable forms of
transportation. Other cities including Aspen have also conducted pilots with
Miles to nudge users to choose public transit or stay off of highways during
Helping cities shape their vision to reduce traffic
congestion, improve air quality and offer a sustainable mode of travel helps us
address a genuine need for our existence. Our vision is to help cities across
the country and around the world.
How and when will you make money?
Miles predictive AI technology, also known as, 'Near
Future', applies tons of machine learning and AI algorithms to help brands,
cities and transportation providers find a better way to discover, engage and
deliver value to customers while mobile and at rest. Miles earns money from
partners as consumers redeem rewards though the platform. Miles does not serve advertisements
to users, only rewards to earn.
To better explain how the Miles platform works, imagine
there are a hundred Miles' users within 0.3 miles of a downtown shopping area.
By looking at mobility, travel and visit patterns in aggregate, the Miles platform
can predict how many customers are likely to buy a coffee, need a meal or gas
or another type of product or service based on the history of where and when
those people have stopped in the past. Based on this anonymous data, brands and
local merchants can tailor personalized reward offerings for their target
All of the user's data, including location and trip data
collected via the Miles app, is completely private, never shared and only used
anonymously and in aggregate, to present personalized rewards. At no time is
personal information shared with any third party.
What are the backgrounds and previous achievements of the
founding team, and why do you have what it takes to succeed with this business?
Miles is co-founded by Jigar Shah (ex-Cisco
product and tech lead) and Paresh Jain (former vice president of Morgan
Stanley’s auto and mobility practice). Our combined expertise in the technology
and automotive industries gives us a great advantage in understanding how we
can best deliver the best value to our customers as well as our partners.
Together with our talented team and strategic advisors and investors, Miles is
well-positioned for continued success.
What's been the most difficult part of founding the business
As they say, founding a business is “really” hard. Founding
a business like Miles, with a broad vision and value prop is even more
difficult. We’re not only launching a new company, but also a new category and
way to reward all forms of transportation, regardless of where or how people
As we’ve built Miles, we had to overcome a number of
challenges. Recruiting a team of advisors, investors and team members in our
very early days wasn’t easy. Our core team has also worked tirelessly to
develop our proprietary technology platform and AI engine, which automatically
identifies the mode of transportation and rewards travel seamlessly – all while
keeping data completely private.
Developing and expanding our partnerships has also taken a
herculean effort by our team. None of this has been easy. Going forward, you
will continue to see us seek out new strategic partnerships as we continue to
grow and scale our business.
Generally, travel startups face a fairly tough time making
an impact - so why are you going to be one of lucky ones?
First of all, travel in itself is extremely fragmented.
Secondly, apart from navigation systems, most travel activities are very
infrequent. For both of those reasons, many travel startups or products in
general, see lower engagement – thus leading to higher spend in order to keep
The premise for Miles’ is unique from other travel startups,
with a much broader value prop and vision. Miles’ accompanies the users for
every trip they make in the physical world, seamlessly awarding them miles
without requiring any action on their part. This drives extremely high
engagement and retention with users. Our initial traction speaks for itself.
Executive Interview: Founders Factory
Hoberman, co-founder at Lastminute.com and co-founder and chairman at Founders
Factory, speaks at Phocuswright Europe 2019.