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Exclusive: Swiftly acquires alcohol promotions platform Bybe

an illustration of a drinking glass with a dollar symbol shaped straw sticking out of it

Illustration: Tiffany Herring/Axios

Retail tech provider Swiftly acquired alcohol promotions platform Bybe, co-founder Sean Turner tells Axios exclusively.

Why it matters: The deal will augment Swiftly's alcohol cash-back offering and give retailers another avenue to court adult beverage shoppers.

Zoom in: Bybe has established connections with suppliers, retailers, and particularly good relationships with regulators, which is important in a heavily regulated space, Turner says.

  • Bybe co-founders, Drew Knight and Ryan Moore, will join Swiftly's leadership team.
  • Financial terms of the details weren't disclosed.

Zoom out: "Alcohol is a super important category for retailers to win" because it can help increase shoppers' basket size in terms of value and volume, Turner says.

  • Typically, when you're buying wine, you're buying dinner too so an alcohol purchase has the effect of driving the rest of your meal purchases.
  • When a shopper's basket has alcohol, their basket is going to be 40% larger than a basket sans alcohol, Turner says.

The big picture: The value of alcohol e-commerce is expected to grow by $7.5 billion over the next five years, reaching about $40 billion by 2027, according to alcohol market research firm IWSR.

  • While online consumer shopping in the category has slowed from the pandemic bump, "those who continue to do so are increasing their frequency," per an IWSR report.
  • Concurrently, there has been an increase in buying alcohol in physical supermarkets and grocers and on-premise, the report says.

Yes, but: Some pandemic-era bets on the category, like alcohol-delivery service Drizly haven't panned out.

Catch up quick: Swiftly raised a $100 million Series C round in 2022 led by Hong Kong-based BRV Capital Management, which valued the company at the time at around $1.1 billion to $1.2 billion.

  • Its total funds raised sits at $210 million.
  • "We're still in a position to have years of runway," and to make more moves like this acquisition where warranted, Turner says.
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