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Swagbucks raises $60 million; former Fandango chief named CEO

El Segundo company Swagbucks raises $60 million in new funding
Swagbucks names a new CEO: Chuck Davis, former chief of Fandango

Swagbucks -- a company that rewards people for online activities such as watching videos -- is getting some more real bucks of its own to play with.

The company said Tuesday that it has raised $60 million in funding from Technology Crossover Ventures, or TCV, a Silicon Valley investment firm. In addition, the company named its new chief executive: TCV venture partner Chuck Davis, who is the former CEO of online movie-ticket seller Fandango.

Swagbucks, based in El Segundo, offers virtual currency to people in return for watching videos, playing games or taking part in market research. Davis said the company will use the new funding to expand its offerings and make itself more well-known. 

"It's exciting when consumers can engage with entertainment, news and shopping and be rewarded for it," said Davis, who has served as Swagbucks' executive chairman since January 2013. "Heretofore, consumers were doing these things and enjoying it, and the sites would keep the ad dollars. The rewards are a nice little icing on the cake that helps families stretch their budgets."

Swagbucks, a unit of Prodege, has about 10 million registered members and has paid out more than $60 million in rewards since it launched in 2008. The company offers gift cards from online stores including Amazon, Target and Starbucks.

Davis, who succeeds founding CEO Josef Gorowitz, led Fandango through its 2007 sale to Comcast Corp. He was also the CEO of Shopzilla, which E.W. Scripps Co. bought for $525 million in 2005.

Gorowitz, who becomes Swagbucks' president, said mobile apps will be an important area of growth for the company. Swagbucks said it generated $53 million in revenue last year.

"Mobile is probably the biggest place where we're going to catch up with Chuck's help and try to make this a household brand," he said. 

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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