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June, 2012

Cartera Commerce raises $12.2M for expanding card offer tech


Lexington-based Cartera Commerce Inc., which provides the customer loyalty technology known as "credit-card-linked offers," said Tuesday it's raised $12.2 million as it seeks to provide small merchants with an alternative to the daily deals model.
Lexington-based Cartera Commerce Inc., which provides the customer loyalty technology known as “credit-card-linked offers,” said Tuesday it’s raised $12.2 million as it seeks to provide small merchants with an alternative to the daily deals model.

Cartera is working with three of the country’s four largest card issuers to enhance “points” rewards on customer’s cards at certain retailers, such as Sears, Best Buy and Target.com.

But a recent focus has been on smaller local merchants, of which there are 5.5 million in the U.S. that accept credit or debit cards, Cartera CEO Tom Beecher said in an interview. The company is working with 2,000 currently through its OfferLink service.

“Whether you like or dislike the daily deal model, it’s really changed the way local merchants think about local marketing,” Beecher said. “We now see a much bigger marketing opportunity (with local retailers). That’s one key area we’re excited to put this capital to work in.”

Beecher said that in 2011, $1 billion worth of commerce went through the Cartera system in total. “We have a good read that that’s bigger than everyone else in the space combined,” he said.

Cartera isn’t disclosing the names of the banks and card issuers it’s working with, but Beecher said the company’s network includes 65 million cardholders overall. Those cardholders receive marketing from the banks and card issuers about where the points enhancement is available.

Cartera, which changed its name from Mall Networks in 2010, was founded in 2005 and is the oldest of the local card-linked offer players. The company employs about 200 (100 in Massachusetts) and expects to grow to 300 within the next year, Beecher said.

The new round was led by Comvest Group, which had previously invested in Vesdia, an Atlanta firm which merged with Cartera in January 2011.

Other participants in the round were Cartera’s previous investors - Flybridge Capital Partners, Dace Ventures, LBO Enterprises and Venture Capital Fund of New England. Cartera said it has now raised $43 million since its founding.
Source: MassHighTech
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