FreeMonee raises $11 million for gift network

Ronny Kerr · May 11, 2011 · Short URL:

Founded by eBay, Best Buy, Visa and Oracle executives, FreeMonee is still seeking more partnerships

A startup founded by former senior executives from eBay, Best Buy, Visa and Oracle and its name reads like “free money”? Wow, this must be something!

FreeMonee, a gift network, has raised $11 million in initial funding from Opus Capital Ventures, Redpoint Ventures, Sutter Hill Ventures, Pinnacle Ventures and Contrarian Group, a fund directed by Peter Ueberroth, who formerly served as the sixth commissioner (chief executive) of Major League Baseball and chaired the United States Olympic Committee.

Ueberroth serves on FreeMonee’s board of directors with former Levi Strauss CEO Phil Marineau.

In line with recent e-commerce developments from location services like Foursquare and SCVNGR, FreeMonee wants to help merchants target and reward customers directly and seamlessly by crediting their debit and credit cards.

By way of FreeMonee’s proprietary and patent-pending technology that analyzes transaction data from hundreds of millions of cardholders, merchants can pinpoint exactly the customers with purchasing patterns that tip them off as “profitable consumer prospects.” The merchants can then send them “gifts,” or cash incentives to go shop at that merchant’s storefront. After purchasing whatever they want from the merchant, they are credited up to the amount of their gift.

It’s like automatic and free gift cards to drive shoppers to the stores.

“Banks have been waking up to the opportunity to leverage their transaction data to meet, on the one hand, privacy-conscious consumers’ appetite for highly relevant offers, and on the other hand, brands and retailers’ quest for spending their marketing dollars more effectively,” explains Gwenn Bézard, research director at Aite Group. “FreeMonee is squarely positioned to help banks compete for marketing dollars along with Google and Groupon.”

The new company says it already has agreements in place with “two of the top six card issuers,” though it’s not yet naming which ones. You can bet they’re trying to get the rest on board as you read this.

Heading FreeMonee is Gadi Maier, who not only founded Oracle Japan but also led two IPOs and “is seven-for-seven in startups,” with more than $3 billion in exits, including GetThere, Currenex, Fraud Sciences, Memco and Finjan.

Here’s the rest of the team:

  •     Andy Laursen, VP of Development, formerly held the same position. at Oracle.
  •     Mike Linton, EVP of Marketing, formerly served as the CMO of eBay and Best Buy.
  •     Joe Salesky, Chief Strategy Officer, was most recently founder and CEO of ClairMail.
  •     Jim Taschetta, Chief Marketing Officer, formerly served as SVP of Brand at Visa.
  •     Mark Uicker, VP of Business Development, was the co-founder and VP Sales at ClairMail.
  •     Ayelet Zadok, VP of Network Services was a co-founder and VP of Product Services at ClairMail.

To learn more about the service, check out their “How it works” video on Vimeo.

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Ronny Kerr

I am a professional writer with a decade of experience in the technology industry. At VatorNews, I cover the zero-waste economy, venture capital, and cannabis. I'm also available for freelance hire.

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