Swagbucks Owner Buys CouponCause as Race For Shoppers, Data Heats Up
Rachel Uranga covers the intersection of business, technology and culture. She is a former Mexico-based market correspondent at Reuters and has worked for several Southern California news outlets, including the Los Angeles Business Journal and the Los Angeles Daily News. She has covered everything from IPOs to immigration. Uranga is a graduate of the Columbia School of Journalism and California State University Northridge. A Los Angeles native, she lives with her husband, son and their felines.
The owner of consumer rewards site Swagbucks bought the digital coupon-cutter company CouponCause Monday, expanding its e-commerce brands as it bulks up its consumer data and analysis business.
Parent company Prodege did not disclose terms of the deal on Monday but said it will absorb the Santa Monica-based company at its El Segundo headquarters where it keeps a live tracker of gift cards redeemed from around the world.
The move comes at a time of increased interest in the digital coupon space after PayPal paid $4 billion for Honey, another company that makes money by helping consumers earn rewards and find digital coupons. Companies like Honey, RetailMeNot and Prodege use the deals to capture valuable consumer information. Prodege also owns MyPoints, InboxDollars and MyGiftCardsPlus.
"The number of consumers who like value is limitless and we are satiating that appetite," said Prodege chief executive Chuck Davis, as he ticked off data points on the latest gift cards awarded— $25 at Applebees in Europe, $50 from Starbucks in Florida, another $25 from a Red Lobster in Florida — as they appeared on a screen in front of him.
The acquisition, which went into effect on Feb. 3, will help Prodege build a larger presence online — or as Davis puts it, "widen the vortex." Davis said the brands will eventually integrate. That will help feed the company's data and survey business, which already provides clients with insights on everything from customers' political preferences to their shopping habits.
Swagbucks works directly or indirectly with about 3,500 merchants, including names like Amazon and Walmart, he said.
And there's room for even more growth. In 2018, the company secured $130 million in debt financing that Davis, the former chief executive at Fandago and Shopzilla, said is intended for mergers and acquisitions. Last year, the company acquired CotterWeb Enterprises, Inc., which operates InboxDollars.com and SendEarnings.com.
With the most recent purchase behind them, Davis said Prodege is in "growth mode."
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'Keep the American Dream Alive': Equity Crowdfunding Is Surging From an Appeal to Patriotism and Altruism
When Christine Outram, founder and CEO of Everydae, a digital tutoring app, met with investors last year to try to raise a seed round she kept being told to come back in six months.
"I guess you can say we were turned down," she said.
Outram decided to try a different route, turning to equity crowdfunding, which allows mom and pop investors to dabble in something that until recently was solely the domain of professional investors. Her campaign proved successful – she raised $1.2 million from 1,586 people who wrote checks between $250 and $50,000.
Christine Outram, founder and CEO of Everydae, a digital tutoring platform.
Barbara Chandler believes she contracted COVID-19 in March at her job, working in an Amazon warehouse in New York where she experienced "a culture of workplace fear reinforced by constant technological supervision, retaliation against those who speak out, and the threat of automatic and immediate job loss in a job market where it may be impossible to find work elsewhere," according to a lawsuit filed in federal court in New York this week.
Less than a month after contracting the virus, Chandler says she woke up to find her cousin, whom she lived with, dead after experiencing COVID-19 symptoms.
At a virtual town hall held Thursday by dot.LA and PledgeLA to identify actions leaders in the L.A. tech and startup community can take now to break down racial barriers to jobs and capital, and to democratize economic opportunity for the region -- there were ultimately a robust number of questions asked and interest expressed around the issue, though tangible actions remain to be seen.
Nearly 30 years after the 1992 riots in Los Angeles, protesters across the U.S. gathered this time to march against systemic racism and violence faced by the black community after George Floyd was killed while in police custody in Minneapolis.
Across social media, tech companies in L.A. and beyond have posted and tweeted their support for #blacklivesmatter, muted their feeds, and opened their pocketbooks, while music companies took part in a blackout. Companies have also donated to various diversity, equity and inclusion causes, but it remains an open question as to what impact those efforts will have.
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