My Startup: RWRD

Charlie Spargo's picture
by Charlie Spargo

RWRD is the leading mobile application for supporting independent and small chain coffee shops - putting users in touch with partner organisations serving up a real cup.

Not only does RWRD let users find independent cafes nearby, it provides a loyalty scheme for them, as well as exclusive offers. It supports small operators who get increased footfall and more loyal customers, and helps people find places off the beaten track, whether they're a coffee fan or just a freelancer looking for somewhere to work.

It's available on both the App Store and Google Play, so coffee lovers can go and find a future favourite venue at no cost to them.

Founders: Miles Bailey & Tim Silbermann

Founded: 2019


We talked to the founders to learn about the creation of RWRD.

Why did you start RWRD? 

We started RWRD to provide a platform for a community of independent and small chain venues, giving features and benefits that users might be accustomed to seeing with high street chains. The app is built specifically to support small business through discovery & loyalty based retention features. 

Tell us more about the tech behind the product. 

As a two sided marketplace we have an app (for users, available on the App Store and Google Play) and a web-based portal for our partner venues.

We spent a long time drawing up various designs and wireframes (literally on the windows of Miles’ flat originally!) to ensure the product we were bringing to market matched our vision and is fitting of our ethos.

Where are you at right now? 

We launched to market at the very end of October last year and are now working with venues across London and are well into the thousands of active users. We’re excited to have recently launched a slightly tweaked version 2 to further benefit our venues and users as well. 

What are your aims for the next year? 

This year we’re continuing to grow the number of venues we work with both in London but also beyond into other UK towns and cities. We’re super excited to grow our community and be the connection between our venues and users, making it easy for them to discover each other. 

What's been the hardest thing about getting RWRD off the ground? 

Getting the product right and ensuring it brought value to both venues and users was something challenging, but we’ve been fortunate that the uptake of the app has been positive on both the venue side and user side and the in the fact that we’ve had traction from day one.

Why should more people be using RWRD?

We believe, as do our users, that visiting independent and small chain businesses offers better experiences and better quality in better places. We hand-select all of our venues and meet the owners of each - the passion these people have about their businesses is awesome, and really shines through.

One challenge we had before RWRD was finding them as often, due to the high costs and dominance of expensive real estate by giant global chains; they were easily missed even when located just one street down or hidden round a corner. Ultimately, we want anyone after a coffee or needing to find somewhere to work an easy way to find an independent when they come out of any station or hop off any bus.

How much will it cost users - and why is it worth the investment? 

For users, the app is completely free to download on the App Store and Google Play, and there are no in-app purchases or third-party adverts, as having a simple and good experience on the app is of paramount importance to us.

For venues, we offer a free trial until, through our data insights, we can prove the value we’re adding and at that point charge just £15 on a rolling monthly basis.