Today sees the launch of the “first-of-its-kind” national gift network FreeMonee, founded by an impressive team of veterans from some of the largest companies in banking, retail and e-commerce, with experience at organizations like eBay, Oracle, Best Buy, Cisco, Visa and ClairMail under their collective belts.
The company has secured $11 million in Series A funding from Opus Capital, Redpoint Ventures, Sutter Hill Ventures, Pinnacle Ventures and Contrarian Group, the fund directed by Peter Ueberroth. Ueberroth also serves on FreeMonee’s board with former Levi Strauss CEO Phil Marineau.
FreeMonee will basically enable merchants to hand out cash “gifts” directly to individual credit and debit cardholders through participating financial institutions. With said gifts, consumers can purchase anything they choose at the merchant by simply using their card.
The financial institutions deliver the FreeMonee gift notifications to their customers via their normal communication channels and receive a success fee for each gift redeemed.
At the heart of the offering, FreeMonee says, lies its proprietary and patent-pending Adaptive Matching Technology (AMT), which – anonymously – analyzes the transaction data of hundreds of millions of debit and credit card holders and matches merchant gifts with consumer prospects that are likely to redeem based on previous purchasing patterns and predictive analytics. The startup says it has agreements in place with two of the top six card issuers in the United States and is working closely with others.
The first program launch is expected to occur in summer 2011.
FreeMonee is led by CEO Gadi Maier, who previously founded Oracle Japan and served as General Manager for Cisco’s Internet Business Unit. Also involved is Andy Laursen, former VP development at Oracle, where he was one of the early kernel architects, who previously served similar roles at Scalent and Phone.com.
Other noteworthy members of the management team include Mike Linton, former CMO of eBay and Best Buy, and Joe Salesky, most recently founder and CEO of ClairMail.
Check the company’s CrunchBase profile to see who else is involved.
FreeMonee is changing the economics of advertising by enabling stores and restaurants to attract customers on demand using FreeMonee Gifts. With its unique new consumer incentive, FreeMonee delivers gifts of money directly to cardholders of the largest financial institutions. Customized to precisely match consumer interest, gifts allow consumers to purchase anything they want at designated stores or restaurants—no strings attached. The gifts are made possible by FreeMonee’s proprietary Gift Underwriting Engine, which accurately determines the right gift to ensure...