7-Eleven has unveiled a new venture capital wing, called 7-Ventures, LLC, which was created to help the convenience store retailer invest in cutting-edge tools and technologies.
One of the first companies 7-Ventures as invested in is Belly, a digital loyalty platform. Belly recently secured $12.1 million in funding, including an investment from 7-Ventures, as well as contributions from Andreessen Horowitz, DAG Ventures, Lightbank and New Enterprise Associates.
According to a press release from Belly, 7-Ventures is “currently focused on early stage investments in new food and beverage categories, new retail business models, and next generation customer engagement and payment networks and technologies.”
The Belly platform was designed to help marketers personalize rewards and offers, execute targeted email campaigns and receive detailed analytics on loyal customers. Businesses that implement Belly also can integrate the solution with all social media and mobile marketing efforts to connect with customers across a variety of channels. Belly currently is being tested in 50 national chains across 700 locations.
“In the past 18 months, we’ve watched Belly scale quickly and have seen through our test with this network the value Belly can provide to 7-Eleven,” said Raja Doddala, VP of Portfolio Management at 7-Ventures, LLC. “By becoming an investor, 7-Eleven can learn how successful digital loyalty networks drive consumer traffic and engagement offline.”