Experiential Rewards Company Blueboard Raises $9.3 Million

By Dan Anderson ● September 28, 2020
  • Blueboard — a rewards and recognition platform used to engage employees and top-performers with curated experiences — announced that it has raised a $9.3 million Series A round led by Origin Ventures

Blueboard — a rewards and recognition platform used to engage employees and top-performers with curated experiences — announced that it has raised a $9.3 million Series A round led by Origin Ventures. And 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 is known for helping companies of any size create personalized employee recognition and incentive programs that celebrate and elevate their best talent. Ranging from skydiving to virtual cooking classes to family days at the zoo, Blueboard’s platform makes it easy for companies and their managers to reward top-performing employees with exceptional experiences. And 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.

Over the past 2 years, Blueboard has built a global footprint, offering more than 4,000 personalized experiences in over 70 countries. And 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 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.

As 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. And 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 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. And 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. And 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.

KEY QUOTES:

”At Blueboard we’ve always believed that traditional employee rewards and incentives are unremarkable, impersonal, and too transactional to motivate people. We’re proud to enable hundreds of companies to create impactful moments with ease.”

— Taylor Smith, Co-Founder and CEO at Blueboard

“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. 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.”

— Brent Hill, Partner at Origin Ventures

“Employee engagement and HR practices are critical drivers for company growth, particularly in the distributed world we live in today. We’re excited for Blueboard to lead this fast-growing market with a unique approach to employee recognition and company culture.”

— Mark Terbeek, Partner at Greycroft