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Innovators in the News

7/11/12 - CashStar Gets $5M to Fund More Expansion

Reprint from the Portland Press Herald 7/11/12

PORTLAND, MAINE - CashStar, which specializes in "digital gifting" and electronic commerce, said today it got $5 million in funding from Intel Capital and others, bringing its total funding to $33 million.

CashStar said the latest round of funding will help it continue to add employees, invest in mobile gifting technology and expand internationally.

The Portland-based company has 80 employees, up from 40 workers a year ago. CashStar already has expanded into Canada and plans to launch its eGift products in the United Kingdom and Hong Kong shortly.

"We know from recent research that consumers want eGifts to be easily available on their smartphones, personalized and instant," said CashStar Chief Executive David Stone. "Consumers want to send a gift in any amount to anyone at anytime. Borders are irrelevant."

The company declined to disclose its revenues or profits, but said transaction volume increased 200 percent in the first quarter.

CashStar said the eGift card market is expected to reach $11 billion by 2014.

"The momentum CashStar has achieved in the past year alone is indicative of the transformation in how both business and consumers are approaching the gifting experience. CashStar's innovations have digitized the act of gifting online and now this trend is increasingly moving mobile, making it a more personal, engaging and rewarding experience," said Dave Flanagan, managing director of Intel Capital.

The latest round of funding came from Intel Capital, along with existing investors Passport Capital, FTV Capital and Steven Boal, co-founder and chairman of CashStar and president and chief executive of Inc.

Stone declined to comment on a potential initial public offering of the company.

"When you focus on growing the business, those things tend to take care of themselves. Now the priority is giving consumers the best experience and growing the business," Stone said.

Stone said the biggest competition for CashStar is retailers that launch their own digital eGifting products, such as LL Bean. CashStar's retail brands include Best Buy, Gap, Staples, Starbucks, The Home Depot and Williams-Sonoma.

By Jessica Hall, Portland

Press Herald staff writer

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