Swagbucks Owner on a Buying Spree, Picks Up Upromise

Rachel Uranga

Rachel Uranga is dot.LA's Managing Editor, News. 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.

Swagbucks Owner on a Buying Spree, Picks Up Upromise

The El Segundo-based Prodege acquired its fourth company in the last 13 months as it seeks to dominate in the digital rewards program space and strengthen its consumer analytics business.

The owner of consumer rewards site Swagbucks and MyPoints picked up Upromise Inc, an education-saving rewards business owned by Sallie Mae, giving it a foray into credit cards and helping the company build its consumer data business. Terms of the deal weren't released.


The Massachusetts-based Upromise provides a cash-back rewards program linked to 529 plans, an investment tool that provides tax breaks for college savings. The product has 500,000 members, many with a linked credit card that will be handled in partnership with Barclays. And those individuals are estimated to have $3.2 billion in purchasing power.

"We grow our members, we grow the number of partners we work with, we grow our revenues and profits,' said chief executive Chuck Davis, the former head of Fandago and Shopzilla.

The addition also adds an important demographic to their 120 million people that have signed up for their products, college-bound families. About half of Prodege's business is based in its analytics of consumer behavior, the other half is its consumer facing rewards programs that direct shoppers to certain brands. Swagbucks, for instance, works directly or indirectly with about 3,500 merchants, including names like Amazon and Walmart.

Landing access to upwardly mobile families makes the product more appealing to brands and could help their analytics side.

Earlier this year Prodege bought the digital coupon-cutter company CouponCause, which helps it capture valuable shopper information. The company said it has rewarded $1.7 billion in cash rewards and gift cards since its inception.

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Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Genies Wants To Help Creators Build ‘Avatar Ecosystems’

When avatar startup Genies raised $150 million in April, the company released an unusual message to the public: “Farewell.”

The Marina del Rey-based unicorn, which makes cartoon-like avatars for celebrities and aims to “build an avatar for every single person on Earth,” didn’t go under. Rather, Genies announced it would stay quiet for a while to focus on building avatar-creation products.

Genies representatives told dot.LA that the firm is now seeking more creators to try its creation tools for 3D avatars, digital fashion items and virtual experiences. On Thursday, the startup launched a three-week program called DIY Collective, which will mentor and financially support up-and-coming creatives.

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Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

Christian Hetrick

Christian Hetrick is dot.LA's Entertainment Tech Reporter. He was formerly a business reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer and reported on New Jersey politics for the Observer and the Press of Atlantic City.

Here's What To Expect At LA Tech Week

LA Tech Week—a weeklong showcase of the region’s growing startup ecosystem—is coming this August.

The seven-day series of events, from Aug. 15 through Aug. 21, is a chance for the Los Angeles startup community to network, share insights and pitch themselves to investors. It comes a year after hundreds of people gathered for a similar event that allowed the L.A. tech community—often in the shadow of Silicon Valley—to flex its muscles.

From fireside chats with prominent founders to a panel on aerospace, here are some highlights from the roughly 30 events happening during LA Tech Week, including one hosted by dot.LA.

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LA Tech ‘Moves’: HyperDraft Taps LegalZoom Exec

Decerry Donato

Decerry Donato is a reporter at dot.LA. Prior to that, she was an editorial fellow at the company. Decerry received her bachelor's degree in literary journalism from the University of California, Irvine. She continues to write stories to inform the community about issues or events that take place in the L.A. area. On the weekends, she can be found hiking in the Angeles National forest or sifting through racks at your local thrift store.

LA Tech ‘Moves’: HyperDraft Taps LegalZoom Exec
Photo by James Opas | Modified by Joshua Letona

“Moves,” our roundup of job changes in L.A. tech, is presented by Interchange.LA, dot.LA's recruiting and career platform connecting Southern California's most exciting companies with top tech talent. Create a free Interchange.LA profile here—and if you're looking for ways to supercharge your recruiting efforts, find out more about Interchange.LA's white-glove recruiting service by emailing Sharmineh O’Farrill Lewis (sharmineh@dot.la). Please send job changes and personnel moves to moves@dot.la.

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