An innovative tech start-up is celebrating a successful round of seed funding having raised £1 million from investors.

Airtime Rewards, which is based in Manchester and has an office in London, helps large organisations build customer loyalty by providing an innovative digital rewards-based service.

The recent investment will be used to expand the business and implement further developments to its infrastructure and create 12 new jobs in the next year, helping to widen its potential reach by building on the sales and customer service functions.

The £1m fundraising round included £750,000 from NPIF – Maven Equity Finance, part of the Northern Powerhouse Investment Fund managed by Maven Capital Partners.

Airtime enables shoppers to be rewarded with a unique reward currency that can be converted into monetary credit on their mobile phone account or for additional mobile data.

“Last year was a pivotal year for our business, when we were able to prove there is a clear consumer and retailer demand for our technology, giving us a solid platform for growth,” said Airtime CEO Adam Ward, who co-founded the company with Josh Graham.

“It has been great to find an investor in our home city of Manchester who shares our vision. We are looking forward to working with Maven to take our business to the next stage.”

Airtime’s disruptive technology solution removes the need to carry multiple loyalty cards and instead intelligently capitalises on two of the most commonly carried items – an individual’s mobile phone and their bank card.

This has created a linear and unobtrusive loyalty scheme which provides instant rewards for the customer.

James Darlington, Investment Manager at Maven, said: “We are delighted to support Airtime in realising its growth strategy. The company’s offering is exciting and innovative – allowing users to transact and redeem their rewards easily and in a way that best suits their lifestyles.

“Adam and Josh have worked tirelessly, achieving a great deal of success within a short timeframe and with minimal resources. They have positioned the business well and this investment will allow them to fast track the company’s performance.

“We look forward to working with them to drive the business over the next few years.”

With many recognised retail chains such as Waitrose, Missguided and Sunglass Hut already signed up, the solution rewards members every time they transact with their linked payment cards. Instead of collecting points, consumers receive a monetary credit back to their mobile account or can opt to take additional mobile phone data.

Airtime has agreements in place with all of the UK’s major mobile network operators; the company’s technology has been integrated into global payment schemes such as Visa and MasterCard. In addition, Telefonica is a strategic partner and an early investor in Airtime Rewards and has also participated in this latest investment round.

Graham said: “It is very exciting to see investors have recognised both the existing strength and future potential of the company and invested in us.

“Airtime’s benefits all parties by providing a simple and tangible way for customers to earn rewards for purchases, while enabling retailers and mobile phone operators to capitalize on increased customer spend and frequency of visit.”