Careers at FiveStars

Mission

Fivestars creates, implements, and manages reward and loyalty programs for a range of business customers, with a view to increasing recurring business for its commercial clients, and providing deals and discounts for consumers at their favourite outlets.

History

Fivestars was founded in 2010 by Victor Ho (“Ho”) and Matt Doka (“Doka”). Ho and Doka first met while working at McKinsey and Company, where they worked on building loyalty and reward products for large international brands. The pair thought that smaller business were underserved in this area, as they were unable to afford the help of large consultancy firms, and began developing a more affordable alternative.

Fivestars began its operations by integrating its software with point-of-sale systems at participating businesses, with customers using a Fivestars card to gain loyalty points and other rewards. The Company has since developed a more high-tech system, whereby customer visits are marked either through the use of in-store beacons or an app-based check-in through the Fivestars mobile app.

Fivestars received more than $2 million in seed funding in 2011, and has since gone on to raise a total of $92.65 million in five rounds of investor funding, including investments from Y Combinator, DCM Ventures, Menlo Ventures, and Lightspeed Venture Partners. The Company has expanded its operations significantly, boasting more members than any other rewards program, with 3.7 million check-ins per month and 600,000 new members each month. The Company has not disclosed its valuation.

Benefits at FiveStars

Business model of FiveStars

Customer Segments

Fivestars provides services and solutions to a range of customers. The Company splits its customer base into two principal segments:

  • General Consumers; and
  • Businesses

The Company provides a mobile application to consumers seeking discounts and deals and their favourite businesses. The Fivestars app is targeted typically at younger, more tech savvy consumers that regularly frequent the same outlets and businesses.

Fivestars also serves a range of businesses, creating customised loyalty rewards programs across multiple sectors. The Company’s commercial customers mostly comprise highstreet businesses, including beauty and hair salons, bars and clubs, health clubs and gyms, restaurants and eateries, cafes and coffee shops, and retail outlets and boutiques.

Fivestars principally serves consumers across North America, where it has a broad network of commercial customers. The Company, however, also provides rewards and loyalty schemes to international business customers, including in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.

Value Propositions

Fivestars provides value to its customers in the following ways:

  • Its effective commercial rewards schemes, with the Company providing effective loyalty programs for commercial entities, which increase customer visits, and increase customer spending per visit across its numerous commercial customers;
  • Its range of discounts and deals, with the Company providing a broad range of discounts of deals to consumers across a wide spectrum of businesses, including boutiques and retail outlets, restaurants and eateries, cafes and coffee shops, and salons and barber shops;
  • Its domestic and international reach, with the Company serving an extensive network of businesses spanning North America – including the US, Canada, and the Caribbean – as well as some location in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East;
  • Its accessibility and flexibility, with the Company providing an accessible and easy-to-use platform to business customers, with marketing, promotions, and point-of-sale integration covered by the Company, as well as providing an accessible service to consumers through various digital sales and service channels.

Channels

Fivestars operates a website at www.fivestars.com, through which it provides information on its solutions, locations, and activities. Consumers are to access the Company’s mobile applications, which is available on iOS and Android platforms, through the Apple App Store and the Google Play Marketplace, as well as by registering an interest on the Company’s website. Once registered, consumers are able to access their accounts through the Company’s website and mobile app, utilising the Company’s rewards scheme functionalities across participating outlets in North America and abroad.

Business customers are able to request a demonstration of the Company’s solutions by registering an interest through the Company’s website. Customers are then put in touch with members of the Company’s sales team, who are able to serve customers directly. These sales representatives operate out of the Company’s network of offices, including its San Francisco-based headquarters. The Company also provides loyalty cards that business outlets are able to dispense to customers.

Customer Relationships

Fivestars provides an entirely self-service offering to consumers, who are able to download the Fivestars mobile apps, register a user account, manage account details, and utilise the Company’s rewards schemes across the world without interacting with members of the Fivestars sales personnel.

Business customers are able to purchase Fivestars solutions through its dedicated sales personnel. These sales representatives consult closely with business customers to provide bespoke loyalty programs that are tailored to suit the needs and circumstances of each individual client. Once set up, the Company’s business solutions are largely automated, and can be easily managed at point-of-sale by retail staff.

Fivestars provides ongoing technical support to both consumers and business customers. The Company operates separate online support portals for consumers and business customers, which provide various user guides and articles. The Company also provides telephone, email, and chat support services to business customers, through which they can receive personalised technical assistance.

Customers are also able to interact directly with Fivestars through the Company’s various social media and community features, including profiles with Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.

Key Activities

Fivestars is rewards scheme and loyalty program provider. The Company provides tailored digital loyalty programs and cards for cardholders and businesses using its proprietary technologies and platform.

The Company serves general consumers, providing them access to various rewards, discounts, and limited time deals at a broad network of businesses and retail outlets, primarily across North America, but also abroad through its mobile applications.

It also manages and operates bespoke loyalty programs for these businesses – including retailers and boutiques, cafés, restaurants and eateries, and health and beauty salons – overseeing the marketing and promotions for these schemes and providing a largely automated point-of-sale rewards platform. Fivestars is headquartered in Mountain View, California.

Key Partners

Fivestars works in collaboration with various companies and organisations in the development and delivery of its products and solutions. These partners can be categorised broadly as:

  • Supplier and Vendor Partners, comprising suppliers of services, tools, and equipment that help to support the Company’s development and delivery of services, both to general consumers and to business customers;
  • Social and Community Partners, comprising a range of non-profits and charitable organisations with which the Company collaborates on various social and community projects;
  • Technology and Software Partners, comprising technology companies, software developers, systems integrators, which assist in developing and implementing the Company’s software solutions; and
  • Strategic and Alliance Partners, comprising various companies and organisations with which the Company shares certain resources and collaborates on joint marketing and branding partnerships.

Fivestars has launched number of partnerships in recent years. This includes a marketing partnership with Advantage Waypoint, and a deal with media company Rogers Communications as part of its expansion into Canada. The Company has also worked with non-profit Hope Services to find work for people with disabilities.

Key Resources

Fivestars key resources are its technologies and intellectual properties, its consumer and business-focused rewards scheme platforms, its IT and communications infrastructure, its sales and marketing channels, its partnerships, and its personnel – notably its technical support and development staff.

Fivestars owns certain proprietary technologies that are key to the provision of its unique solutions. The Company states on its website that the technology and software underlying or related to its services is the property of Fivestars, its affiliates, or partners, suggesting that some technology may be licensed from third parties. However, searches of records published by the US Patent and Trademark Office identified no patent applications filed with Fivestars named as applicant or assignee.

Cost Structure

Fivestars incurs costs in relation to the development of its technologies and solutions, the development and maintenance of its digital platforms, the maintenance of its IT and communications infrastructure, the operation of it sales and marketing channels, the management of its partnerships, and the retention of its personnel.

The Company’s major costs include the payment of salaries and benefits to its workforce of employees across North America and abroad.

Revenue Streams

Fivestars generates revenue through the development, implementation, and management of commercial rewards and loyalty programs for business across multiple sectors, including salon, retail outlets, cafes, restaurants, and bars. The Company provides its services to customers free of charge. Its revenue is derived from the collection of subscription fees from its business customers. Reports suggest that these fees typically range between $279 and $299 per month, with an additional custom pricing system for larger, enterprise-level clients.

Fivestars remains a privately-owned company, and as such is not obliged to publish its financial results on its website. Research did not identify the Company’s annual revenue for 2015. Reports suggest, however, that the Company’s has experienced 200% growth across all metrics since 2013.

Our team

Victor Ho,
Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer

info: Ho has served as Chief Executive Officer at Fivestars since co-founding the Company in 2010. Ho has limited executive experience outside of Fivestars. He has, however, worked in junior roles at several high-profile companies. In 2006 he served briefly as a consultant at Dreyer’s Grand Ice Cream, before moving to Goldman Sachs in 2007, where he served for less than a year as an analyst. Prior to co-founding Fivestars, Ho worked at McKinsey and Company, where he worked for over two years as a junior engagement manager within the company’s Corporate Finance division. Ho holds a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Management from the University of California’s Walter A. Haas School of Business.

Matt Doka,
Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer

info: Doka has served as Chief Technology Officer at Fivestars since co-founding the Company in 2010. Doka held several analyst positions before co-founding Fivestars. In 2006 he served briefly as a summer fixed income analyst at AVM LP. He went on to serve as an IBD media and telecom summer analyst at Morgan Stanley in 2007, before taking on his first full-time role in 2008 as a business analyst at McKinsey and Company. He left this position in 2010 to serve as a volunteer consultant for TechnoServe in Uganda, before co-founding Fivestars. Doka holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics from the Wharton School business at the University of Pennsylvania.

Chris Luo,
Co-Founder and Chief Technology Officer

info: Chris Luo (“Luo”) has served as Vice President of Marketing at Fivestars since 2012. Luo began his career in 1998 as a consultant at Mercer Management Consulting, a role he held for more than two years. In 2001 he joined Capital One as a senior analyst, serving in this role for three years before being appointed Director of Marketing at Vonage in 2005. Luo co-founded online education company GuavaTalk in 2007, where he worked briefly before joining Google as Head of Acquisition Marketing for the Asia Pacific Region. Prior to joining Fivestars, Luo served as Head of Global SMB Marketing at Facebook. Luo holds a master’s degree in Business Administration from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania.

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