Marqeta and Local Business Organizations Launch New Oakland-Focused Commerce and Gifting Platform

OAKLAND, Calif.--()--Leading Oakland business organizations and local start-up Marqeta have come together to launch Explore Oakland, a resounding answer to Mayor Jean Quan’s call to support Oakland’s economy. Hailed by the New York Times as the fifth most desirable place in the world to visit in 2012, Oakland is especially recognized for its “new restaurants and bars.” Leveraging both opportunities, Explore Oakland gives locals and visitors alike an extra 25% to spend at Oakland’s best restaurants when paying online in advance. Marqeta, a new service that gets consumers more money for the things they buy everyday, is leading the charge, along with the Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, Visit Oakland and the Oakland Restaurant Association to develop innovative solutions that support Oakland commerce and the local community.

Marqeta and Joe Haraburda of the Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce came together in response to Mayor Quan’s goal of encouraging consumers to dedicate 25% of their shopping dollars to Oakland’s merchants. The partnership resulted in an innovation – Explore Oakland, a one-of-a-kind offer that gives shoppers 25% more money to spend at dozens of top Oakland restaurants, including Pican, Ozumo, Make Westing, Bittersweet Café and Pacific Brewing Company. Explore Oakland also supports nonprofit Great Oakland Public Schools, further enhancing the benefit to the Oakland community. Explore Oakland has four dining levels to choose from (consumers buy the offers online at and Marqeta sends them a free debit card with the total funds preloaded):

  • Taste of Oakland: Prepay $40 and get an extra $10
  • Dinner for Two: Prepay $80 and get an extra $20
  • Party of Four: Prepay $200 and get an extra $50
  • Indulge Oakland: Prepay $400 and get an extra $100

Consumers can also give any of the offers as gifts to friends and family, just in time for the holidays. “Giving the gift of Oakland has never been easier,” says Alison Best, CEO of Visit Oakland. “Oakland is experiencing a culinary renaissance and our partnership with Marqeta has given us the opportunity to generate even more buzz around the Oakland dining scene – especially as we head into our third annual Oakland Restaurant Week in January.”

Marqeta and its partners timed the launch of “Give the Gift of Oakland” to run now through Visit Oakland’s third annual Oakland Restaurant Week, January 18-27, 2013. More than 40 restaurants will participate in the yearly celebration of Oakland’s culinary delights. Many of these restaurants are part of Marqeta’s Explore Oakland offer, giving foodie fans the opportunity to make their dining dollar worth even more during Oakland Restaurant Week.

“To spur economic growth citywide, I have asked local residents to join with me in shifting at least 25 percent more of their spending toward Oakland merchants,” said Mayor Jean Quan. “The Explore Oakland card is an innovative way to both encourage and reward consumers for spending their dollars here in Oakland while exploring our nationally-acclaimed dining scene.”

Even before the New York Times article, Oakland’s burgeoning culinary scene has been attracting national attention for the last few years and Explore Oakland promises to both leverage and further encourage that momentum. Says Michael Le Blanc, Owner of Pican, one of Oakland’s most well known top eateries, “I am a big advocate of programs that keep dollars local while giving people the opportunity to give back to the community. It’s sometimes easy to forget what’s in your own backyard, but Explore Oakland from Marqeta offers locals and visitors a chance to experience our city’s most amazing restaurants and get more for their money. It also gives our culinary neighbors a smarter way to engage with new and returning customers.”

Founded in 2010 in Oakland, CA by a team of payments and retail experts, Marqeta is an online-to-offline commerce and payments platform that makes the successful Starbucks loyalty model possible for nearly every merchant in the country, without any new software or hardware at the point of sale. For the first time ever, consumers no longer have to keep track of multiple deal vouchers, loyalty programs or gift cards – they all sit on one payment card. Whereas Starbucks gives consumers points and product rewards, Marqeta merchants give consumers more money to spend. At the same time, Marqeta helps merchants attract, retain and engage consumers more effectively than traditional advertising, marketing and “earn as you go” loyalty programs. The service formally launched in January 2012 in Marqeta’s backyard -- the San Francisco Bay Area -- and is already attracting attention both locally and nationwide.

“Our goal in creating Explore Oakland together with these great partners is to support and reward Oakland commerce – and what better way to do that than with our great restaurants here,” said Omri Dahan, Marqeta’s Chief Revenue Officer. “Locals and visitors alike can now gift themselves or friends and family a great night out on the town all while helping drive Oakland commerce and support Great Oakland Public Schools.”

Concluded Joe Haraburda of The Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce, “Marqeta’s Explore Oakland is about supporting the businesses in our community and it’s for this reason that we’ve been happy to partner with and support their work with Oakland. Together, we will continue to work to strengthen the Oakland economy and spur innovation.”

To get or to gift 25% more money to spend at Oakland’s top restaurants, keep dollars in the community and support nonprofit Great Oakland Public Schools, visit:

About Marqeta:

Founded in 2010, Marqeta is an online- to-offline payments and commerce platform that gives consumers more money for the things they buy everyday, enables merchants to capture repeat business and greater customer spend, and empowers large enterprises to better serve their constituents by participating in the payment stream of relevant transactions. The company was founded in Oakland, Ca.

About the Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce:

Founded more than one hundred years ago, the Oakland Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce remains one of the most influential forces in local government and regional economic development. With over 1,000 members, the Oakland Metropolitan Chamber is actively involved in public policy and providing valuable resources to our members. We’re proud to offer unprecedented benefits, member-to-member discounts, award-winning publications, and numerous opportunities to make local businesses prosper. Join us ( to help make Oakland and the metropolitan area an even better place in which to live, work and play.

About Visit Oakland:

Visit Oakland is a non-profit organization marketing the City of Oakland as a travel destination. Visit Oakland offers a wide variety of complimentary services and materials for travelers and meeting planners interested in experiencing Oakland. For more information, see


for Marqeta
Serena Hom, 510-779-3016
Meghan Lee, 415-277-4901


for Marqeta
Serena Hom, 510-779-3016
Meghan Lee, 415-277-4901