Lambert CEO starts TiiCKER for brands and investors

App links investment accounts, provides perks to shareholders and exposure to brands.
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CEO Jeff Lambert said TiiCKER was formed out of a desire to help brands and shareholders cultivate relationships. Courtesy TiiCKER

The founder and CEO of a Grand Rapids-based investor relations and marketing firm ventured into the fintech space with a new startup.

Jeff Lambert, founder and CEO of Lambert & Co., in 2020 launched the Michigan-based startup TiiCKER, creator of an app and website of the same name that connects public companies to their shareholders with a variety of incentives and perks. The app is available for iOS users and, as of this month, for Android users.

Although the startup was founded with a development team based in Detroit, around half of its current nine employees live in West Michigan.

Lambert said the idea for TiiCKER has been marinating in his mind for about 25 years, as his public clients never have had a way to reach their shareholders directly.

“Nine out of 10 (shares) are held in what’s called a ‘street name’ or in the broker’s name, so if you own a retail stock, that company that you own doesn’t know who you are,” he said. “They know the aggregate of their retail ownership, but they don’t know who you are, where you live, how much (stock) you own, and they certainly don’t know if you are a consumer of their brands.”

He said TiiCKER was formed out of a desire to help brands and shareholders cultivate relationships.

“For investors, it’s an opportunity to discover and earn the perks of ownership,” Lambert said. “The average American is part of eight loyalty programs, but there’s no such thing as a loyalty program for shareholders. We think in many ways, we’re inventing direct-to-shareholder marketing, because it’s never existed before.”

Jeff Lambert Courtesy Lambert & Co.

Lambert said TiiCKER is discovering in its first year of operations that by and large, shareholders don’t want to maintain anonymity; they want to have direct involvement in and be known and rewarded by the companies whose stock they own, but he believes the system has not been set up to allow that until now.

To use TiiCKER, investors can go to tiicker.com or directly to a brand page, such as Wolverine Worldwide’s, for example, at tiicker.com/WWW. Once on the site, the investor can register for a free account and connect their brokerage account to TiiCKER. Then they can claim their perks and use the app to shop for products from the brands they own.

Those who might not have a brokerage account because they aren’t investors yet can create a trading account on TiiCKER for free and obtain the same perks from the companies they buy into as the other shareholders on TiiCKER would. 

Brands can sign up by becoming corporate sponsors of TiiCKER, which gets them listed in the app and on the website.

TiiCKER — which is compliant with data protection standards, including Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) — does not store the data from users’ brokerage accounts; it is merely the method by which TiiCKER verifies that users are owners of a certain brand’s stock, so those companies can make sure the rewards go to active shareholders.

Currently, TiiCKER offers over 100 perks and discounts for shareholders from the eight companies with which it currently partners.

“In the case of (Novi-based) The Shyft Group, (the perk is) an Amazon or a Kroger gift card, because they make vehicles for food delivery, and Amazon, FedEx and UPS trucks. For Wolverine Worldwide, it’s a discount on footwear. For the XFC, or Xtreme Fighting Championships, which is based in Spring Lake, it’s discounts on some of their MMA fighting events, as well as swag, so like apparel and branded merchandise. For Ford, it’s a discount on a new Ford vehicle,” Lambert said. “There’s a wide range, from experiences to random merchandise to discounts on product.”

TiiCKER also was designed to offer brands a way to market their products to existing and potentially new investors.

“The brands would love to connect with this large affinity audience that has, before today, been untapped,” Lambert said. “To give an example, P&G has over 20 million retail investors, but they have no way to market to them. Wolverine Worldwide has half a million retail investors but has no way to market to them. Whirlpool, they have 800,000 retail investors and no way to market to them. The goal is to attract new investors and also convert investors to consumers.”

In its first year of operations, TiiCKER has garnered about 25,000 to 30,000 unique visitors per month and is growing connected accounts by about 30% per quarter.

TiiCKER’s portfolio of brands isn’t limited to Michigan; the app welcomes any public company on a listed exchange. Some recently formed partnerships are with Vancouver, British Columbia-based GameOn Entertainment; Richmond, Virginia-based CarLotz; and Turner, Oregon-based Willamette Valley Vineyards.

The company has invested about $2 million to date in growing the platform and is actively looking to sign more brands.

More information is at tiicker.com.

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