November 12, 2014
It’s time to get ready for the holiday season. I know you don’t want to admit it, but it’s here. I’ve got just the thing to get you through it, though. Raise, the marketplace for buying and selling gift cards and store credit, has announced a mobile app. This means that you can not only buy and sell gift cards and store credit instantaneously, but you can also do this even when you are standing in line at the checkout!
Yes, that’s what I said. No more surfing online marketplaces to find discounted gift cards and hoping that they arrive with their validity intact. The Raise mobile app provides you with verified, insured and instantly redeemable credits. So the next time you’re at Starbucks (or 3,000 other stores/brands), you can buy a card for 84 cents on the dollar and use it to buy your coffee a few seconds later.
Raise projects the app will save shoppers more than $10MM during the 2014 holiday season alone as they use it at their favorite stores (not to mention all the cash shoppers will earn selling unwanted cards). With 96 percent of its users purchasing cards for their own use (as credit for future purchases) rather than as gifts for others, Raise is redefining gift cards. One Raise user has even remodeled her home via $10K worth of gift cards on Raise ($1K+ in savings) from Home Depot, Lowes, Ikea, Home Goods, etc.
This is groundbreaking: It is the first time in retail commerce history that consumers are able to purchase discounted credits to any store – and then use them immediately at the point of sale. Raise also revealed an $18.1 million investment from Bessemer Venture Partners. The December 2013 investment, undisclosed until today, brings the company’s lifetime funding to $25 million.
“The support of Bessemer Venture Partners has enabled tremendous growth and innovation in our marketplace, including the development of the first-ever mobile app that brings in-the-moment card exchanges right to the store counter,” said Raise founder and CEO George Bousis, who projects that shoppers will collectively save more than $10 million in the upcoming holiday season alone by using the Raise app for in-store purchases. “Beyond sheer convenience, what excites us most about this app is that it provides more opportunities to make our members’ money worth more. Like the company’s name implies, Raise’s core purpose is to help both buyer and seller alike feel like they’ve gotten a raise after every transaction.”
The app, now available for iOS, is a real-time extension of the full marketplace, which enables members to save on gift cards to any brand and sell gift cards or store credit for cash (all verified and insured with a money-back guarantee). The Raise platform digitizes physical gift cards and store credits into transferable electronic credits, and the app now mobilizes everything for in-store redemption. A user standing in line for coffee, for instance, could quickly find and buy a corresponding gift card and redeem it at the store counter, pocketing instant savings. With the app’s Raise Wallet feature, users have easy access to all their gift cards and credits, not to mention the entire Raise marketplace, for on-the-go buying, selling and spending.
Since the funding round last December, Raise has grown from 13 employees to 107 today, and has active buyers and sellers across all 50 states. The average card or credit on Raise.com sells in about four hours at a 16 percent discount, with 96 percent of Raise users purchasing gift cards for their own use (as credit for future purchases) rather than as gifts for others. By making it easier to buy cards and credit below face-value, Raise is redefining the role of the gift card.
Launched in 2013, Raise was bootstrapped by Bousis prior to BVP’s investment and other seed and angel rounds.
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