Merchant Innovation

Raise Gets More Personal With Mobile Business Acquisition

Raise announced today (Aug. 20) that it has acquired Tastebud Technologies, a mobile personalization business, marking its first acquisition.

That acquisition, the company noted, follows a seven-month period of tripled revenue for the gift card marketplace. Raise’s business model focuses on allowing members to purchase gift cards below face value and sell unwanted gift cards for cash. Now, with its new acquisition, Raise is on its way to adding more partners. Tastebud’s partners include malls, outlets and shopping districts.

Tastebud operates using predictive technology through quizzes, games and other interactive elements to help determine mobile users’ shopping preferences. Following that analysis, it provides personalized incentives for that user. Tastebud also used location-based technology along with beacons to deliver push notifications to mobile devices.

“Raise and Tastebud essentially grew up together in the Chicago tech scene, and I’ve had a firsthand look at the success they have had building out their product,” said George Bousis, founder and CEO of Raise. “Tastebud has years of great experience working with malls and retailers to understand consumer shopping patterns and brand affinity, and we believe there is an opportunity to leverage their technology and learn from their knowledge to enhance the Raise user experience.”

The Raise platform (named for the notion that its users can “give themselves a raise”) expands upon the very concept of re-gifting, as shoppers can buy gifts cards for less than their total value, and sellers can turn unwanted gift cards into cash.

Raise Chief Innovation Officer Christopher Skinner says that the company is setting forth “a very simple way to change the rules” in the gift card space.

While the Tastebud acquisition is another big step for Raise, the company has seen its share of momentum this year. This includes a $62M Series B round of funding that closed in January. Internally, Raise has also seen its revenue triple in the past seven months and the company has grown to hit more than 220 employees. Raise has also seen a boost on its mobile platform, with 38 percent of orders being processed via devices.

As part of the acquisition, Tastebud will move into Raise’s 50,000 square foot headquarters in Chicago, which is set to expand by another 25,000 square feet. This will also help Raise meet its goal of adding another 100 employees.

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