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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