Swagbucks Owner on a Buying Spree, Picks Up Upromise
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 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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It's never been a better time to "murder your thirst."
Seven months after raising more than $9 million in Series A funding, Santa Monica-based canned water startup Liquid Death has raised $23 million in Series B funding.
The round was led by an unnamed consumer-focused family office and participated in by Convivialité Ventures, Fat Mike (NOFX), Pat McAfee, existing investor in Velvet Sea Ventures and others.
Their Russian investor was dead.
On a late Tuesday night in early May, the billionaire Russian coal tycoon, Dmitry "Dima" Bosov stopped answering phone calls and messages. When his wife, Katerina, arrived at their mansion in the suburbs of Moscow, she found her 52-year old husband locked in the family's home gym, dead from an apparent gunshot wound to the head.
Editor's Note<p><em></em><em>The story is pieced together from interviews with more than 40 former employees and business associates, active and retired county officials, as well as federal and county law enforcement; state court records, arbitration, arrest and corporate records in the U.S. and Canada; other public records in six California counties; Genius Fund corporate records and emails. Some former employees and business associates spoke to dot.LA on condition that their names not be mentioned out of fear of reprisals.</em></p><p>This is first story in our "Green Rush" series. Read more:</p><p><a href="https://dot.la/genius-fund-cannabis-startup-2646866270" target="_self">Part 2: Growing Pains in Plumas County</a> | <a href="https://dot.la/cannabis-products-genius-fund-2646866366.html" target="_self">Part 3: A Line of Failed Products</a> | <a href="https://dot.la/green-rush-genius-fund-2646866354.html" target="_blank">Part 4: What Went Down in Adelanto</a> | <a href="https://dot.la/dmitry-bosov-genius-fund-2646866356.html" target="_self">Part 5: The Sudden Death of Dmitry Bosov And His Dream of a California Cannabis Empire</a></p>
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