Careers at Ebates
To provide an accurate, compelling catalogue with millions of products covering thousands of merchant partners – and build highly relevant search and recommendations engines to take search and e-commerce offerings to the next level.
The Dot Com boom has ended, however, the few companies that have survived and thrived since then have done so because of the persistence of their founders and their unique positioning within their respective markets. Ebates is one such company.
Founded in 1998, at the tail end of the boom, Ebates has become a major player in the online cash back shopping market. Since its founding, it has attracted over a billion users and has given $400 million in cash back to shoppers. In 2015, 5% of all e-commerce traffic went through Ebates.
The remarkable story of Ebates begins with its founders, Paul Wasserman and Alessandro Isolani. The two San Franciso area Assistant District Attorneys were lifelong friends and fellow computer nerds, working as prosecutors of the Cyber Crimes Unit. Both had made attempts at entrepreneurship in college and the interest remained even as they moved on to careers in law.
Working in the heart of Silicon Valley, in Menlo Park, California, the two friends could not ignore the opportunities presented by the Dot Com boom of the late 1990s. Seeing an opportunity in the affiliate marketing area, the two set out to marry cyberspace with traditional retail marketing incentives.
Lacking any deep connections in the IT sector, they relied on Wasserman’s wife’s connections, to get a meeting with Foundation Capital. While sceptical at first about the sustainability of their proposition, Foundation Capital’s General Partner, Paul Koontz, offered them $50,000 in seed funding.
Soon after the funding announcement, Ebates launched from its bootstrapped fashion. The good news was also followed up by the bursting of the dot com bubble. The early years following the crash was difficult. However, Ebates’ ability to maintain cash flow and the tenacity of its founders helped it to survive.
By 2000, the company had already signed up over a million people and brought on over 300 retailers as affiliates. In 2000, the company received $25 million in its second series of funding. In 2001, Isolani replaced Wasserman as CEO. He continued until 2008 when Kevin Johnson took over. Since 2008, the company has maintained an annual growth rate of 50%.
Following a major funding round in 2012, which brought in $40 million, Ebates has gone on an acquisitions spree. It acquired AnyCoupons and FatWallet in 2011; BFAds and OneReceipts in 2012; and Pushpin and Extrabux in 2013. Wasserman and Isolani have since left the company and are enjoying the good life in southern California.
In September 2014, while preparing for an IPO, Ebates was approached and acquired by Japanese giant Rakuten for $1 Billion. The company and its relatively small number of staff are located in San Francisco.
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