SAN FRANCISCO--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Blueboard, a rewards and recognition platform used to engage employees and top-performers with curated experiences, today announced that it has closed a $9.3 million Series A round led by Origin Ventures, an early-stage venture capital firm focused on software and marketplace businesses. Additional investors include Greycroft, Bullpen Capital, Plug and Play, Gaingels, and Martin Babinec, founder of TriNet, the $4.3 billion health and benefits giant.
Blueboard’s platform helps companies of any size create personalized employee recognition and incentive programs that celebrate and elevate their best talent. From skydiving to virtual cooking classes to family days at the zoo, Blueboard’s intuitive platform makes it easy for companies and their managers to reward top-performing employees with exceptional experiences. Once a reward is sent by a manager, recipients can choose the experience that’s most meaningful to them, and Blueboard’s high-touch Concierge service seamlessly handles all bookings, payments, and logistics.
”At Blueboard we’ve always believed that traditional employee rewards and incentives are unremarkable, impersonal, and too transactional to motivate people,” said Taylor Smith, Co-Founder and CEO at Blueboard. “We’re proud to enable hundreds of companies to create impactful moments with ease.”
Blueboard has built a global footprint over the past 2 years, offering more than 4,000 personalized experiences in over 70 countries. With approximately 1-2% of company payroll, or over $70 billion annually, going towards non-cash rewards like gift cards, reward points, merchandise and plaques, Blueboard offers companies the opportunity to recognize top-performing employees in memorable and meaningful ways. Blueboard’s unique model has attracted a diverse set of companies including Abbott’s diabetes care business, Pinterest, Shake Shack, and Ubisoft, enabling them to deliver life-changing experiences from chasing the Northern Lights (which led to an employee naming their daughter Aurora), to marriage proposals during Napa wine country getaways.
When COVID took full effect in March and teams shifted immediately to remote work, employees began to average 28 hours of monthly overtime, equating to nearly four days of additional work. Blueboard’s customers were able to leverage more than 130 in-home and virtual experiences – launched 3 weeks into the pandemic – to continue recognizing employees in order to keep morale high and avoid employee burnout.
“Blueboard offers a network of uncommonly memorable experiences at scale - allowing companies to make an indelible impression on employees for rewards and recognition. We believe this 'experience network' will play an increasingly important role in maintaining great company culture in a future that includes a variety of work situations,” said Brent Hill, Partner at Origin Ventures. “We are very enthusiastic supporters of Taylor and Kevin as they continue to add a variety of new experiences, and develop more programs to serve even more companies and their employees.”
Co-founders Kevin Yip and Taylor Smith launched Blueboard in 2014 to add inspiration to people’s lives by indulging in their passions or trying something new. They pioneered a model to empower companies to gift their employees the most valuable reward -- quality time doing what they love with friends and family. Since the company’s last fundraise in 2018, Blueboard has had 608% revenue growth awarding them number 785 on the 2020 Inc. 5000 list of the fastest-growing companies in America. The company will use the new funding to invest heavily into the technology powering their products, platform, and enterprise capabilities, as well as international expansion to support a growing roster of global Fortune 500 clients.
“Employee engagement and HR practices are critical drivers for company growth, particularly in the distributed world we live in today,” said Mark Terbeek, Partner at Greycroft. “We’re excited for Blueboard to lead this fast-growing market with a unique approach to employee recognition and company culture.”
Blueboard is the leading experiential rewards company. Their experience delivery platform makes it easy for companies to give meaningful employee rewards, incentives, and gifts—from one-of-a-kind to once-in-a-lifetime experiences (think skydiving, behind-the-scenes tours of the zoo for your whole family, or chasing the Northern Lights in Iceland). We partner with hundreds of Best Places to Work around the globe including Abbott’s diabetes care business, Pinterest, Shake Shack, and Ubisoft to celebrate their top people in a more meaningful way. Learn more at Blueboard.com.
About Origin Ventures
Origin Ventures is a venture capital firm founded in 1999 based in Salt Lake City and Chicago, primarily focused on Seed and Series A equity investments in companies building products and services for the Digital Native economy. The partners are former operators and engineers with a combined 75+ years of venture investing experience and have produced $4.2B of aggregate company exit value. Previous investments include Grubhub, Teem, Ahalogy, Cameo, 15Five, BacklotCars, and Tovala. For more information, visit www.originventures.com
Greycroft is a seed-to-growth venture capital firm that partners with exceptional entrepreneurs to build the world’s most transformative companies. Greycroft has deep experience in both consumer and enterprise technology and has made over 300 investments, including Acorns, App Annie, BetterCloud, Braintree, Flutterwave, Goop, Icertis, Lightricks, Medly, Openpath, Plated, Scopely, SEMrush, Shipt, TheRealReal, Thrive Market, Venmo, and Yeahka. www.greycroft.com