As e-commerce and nascent technology marketplaces boom worldwide, the upcoming CTO of I Synergy Group (ASX IS3) Kevin Coutinho, wants to bring applicable tech to the table to rapidly scale the business.

On the ASX, I Synergy (ASX:IS3) is one of the leaders in the Affiliate Marketing (AM) field, with a commanding presence in the region, just as AM is rapidly becoming a big chunk of a retailer’s marketing spend.

It’s a growth trend which has followed the near instant shift to online e-commerce since the onset of the pandemic.

For the uninitiated, AM is an advertising model where a company pays influencers, bloggers et al to promote products and services and generate sales. Affiliates place ads and commissions are paid on leads that turn into sales.

According to Statista, the industry is growing at about 10% every year, and will likely pass US$10bn in a few years.


Synergies everywhere

I Synergy’s VTRAK platform provides a holistic ecosystem that benefits both affiliates and advertisers and is one the most-used platforms within the Asia region.

Recently, I Synergy saw a big opportunity in using its affiliate network to power rewards and loyalty programs and in January, it signed an agreement to acquire Perth-based POSTech, the company behind loyalty program app Rewalty.

Rewalty is an online nascent technology-based hospitality app that rewards customers when a commercial engagement is made, creating a network of loyal customers.

The app was founded and launched by Kevin Coutinho, a tech whizz and start-up leader who came to Australia from India in 2018 to start multiple digital businesses.

“I started programming at the age of eight, and I’ve been a constant contributor to the open-source programming community as well,” Coutinho explained to Stockhead.

“Since coming to Australia, I’ve founded three companies – Humanbot which is a software development company, a blockchain company called Layer-One X, and of course Rewalty.”

Coutinho is now expected to take over the helm as IS3’s Chief Technical Officer starting in March, upon the completion of the POSTech acquisition.

Working with CEO Lawrence Teo, Coutinho says he wants to take IS3 to the next level by introducing nascent technologies like blockchain and artificial intelligence.

“Blockchain and artificial intelligence (AI) are my expertise and once I get on board, we will be focusing on technologies that will penetrate through multiple industries creating unmatched value” he said.


Leverage each other’s expertise

Rewalty works by giving loyalty points to users who order food from the app, who then share pictures of the meal. The platform also uses AI tech which learns details on the run, like the restaurants the pics came from.

“Because there is this direct line of sight in between the merchant and the user, the merchant will then know this user has marketed this particular thing for me, and they can reward the user,” Coutinho says.

The points earned by the user can then be used to purchase items from other merchants on the app, virtually creating a closed-loop ecosystem of loyal users.

Coutinho sees a lot of synergy between IS3’s current affiliate offering, and what his blockchain technology could bring to the table.

“IS3 and Rewalty can definitely leverage on each other, we see no point in keeping rewards and our loyal customer base programs only within hospitality” he said.


Bringing new technologies down under

“At this particular stage, our focus with I Synergy is bringing to market blockchain related things and applying them to the infant 4% market that are using blockchain related technologies and scale that number further” he said.

Artificial intelligence is also another aspect of the technology that Kevin intends to bring to IS3.

“Blockchain cannot go without artificial intelligence,” Coutinho explained. “One reason for that is if you look at any form of technology today, it has to be built in a way which is flexible enough to change in the coming weeks, months or years.”

And that’s exactly how Rewalty has been built, Coutinho says, by using artificial intelligence where it could data crunch users’ behaviour irrespective of sector, whether it be hospitality or otherwise.

Looking forward, Coutinho says his vision is for IS3’s technological prowess to grow in three initial areas.

“The first target is the expansion of our SaaS products with VTrak and Rewalty. How do we expand these products to the east coast of Melbourne and Sydney, they are huge markets,” he said.

“Secondly, we’re going to focus on delivering blockchain based software to enterprise users, which means we’re going to target larger companies with our technologies,” he added.

“And the third one – which is the interesting part… is the part I can’t speak about right now,” he teases, before adding, “it’s something I see as a huge market in Australia, so we’re going to have to wait until we can make a proper announcement on that one.”

This article was developed in collaboration with I Synergy, a Stockhead advertiser at the time of publishing.

This article does not constitute financial product advice. You should consider obtaining independent advice before making any financial decisions.