SAN FRANCISCO, Sept. 15, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- SaveUp, a nationwide rewards program for personal savings, today received significant validation for its innovative approach to help Americans succeed financially by securing $2 million in seed capital from BlueRun Ventures and True Ventures. Pre-registration for SaveUp's beta launch begins today at www.SaveUp.com.
Unlike traditional rewards programs, which focus on driving consumer spending, SaveUp rewards people for saving money and paying down their debts. Instead of rewards that accumulate over long periods of time, SaveUp is pioneering a unique model where every positive financial action offers the chance to win valuable or life-changing prizes. By aligning with the financial reality of most Americans, SaveUp's innovative rewards program has tremendous potential to help financial institutions build loyalty by supporting their customer's efforts to rebuild their assets.
SaveUp's funding was led by Jonathan Ebinger of BlueRun Ventures and Christiaan Vorkink of True Ventures. The company selected True Ventures for its expertise in early Internet start-ups, such as Milo and SocialCast; and BlueRun for its expertise in payments and financial services companies such as PayPal, Payvment and Kabbage. Ebinger joins SaveUp's Board of Directors, with Vorkink joining as a Board observer.
"SaveUp is disrupting and completely reinventing the entire concept of traditional rewards programs. By incorporating rewards and game experiences into every-day financial activities, SaveUp motivates Americans to closely examine the way they spend and save money and empowers them to make positive changes to their financial behaviors," said Ebinger, Partner at BlueRun Ventures. "The SaveUp team has the right combination of technology expertise, creative vision and determination to tackle one of the toughest challenges facing Americans – saving money and paying down debts -- while making it fun, easy and accessible enough for just about everyone."
Americans are focused on reducing household debt and increasing savings, but the challenges are real. According the US Federal Reserve (1), the total amount of consumer debt in the US is more than $2.4 trillion. Revolving debt– of which 98 percent is attributable to the more than 640 million credit cards in US circulation – amounted to more than $793.1 billion. According to Experian, the average consumer owed more than $4,200 in credit card debt by the end of 2010. A March 2010 Employee Benefit Research Institute study showed that 43 percent of workers said they have less than $10,000 in savings (up from 39 percent in 2009) and 27 percent said they had less than $1,000 (up from 20 percent in 2009). Only 69 percent said they saved for their retirement in 2010 (down from 75% in 2009).
"SaveUp's unique approach to motivating Americans to improve their financial health distinguishes it from other consumer finance applications currently in the market, and we are enthusiastic about our investment in SaveUp and its management team," said Vorkink of True Ventures. "SaveUp's market potential and consumer appeal is tremendous, and if it can help increase savings deposits and reduce debt exposure, it will truly benefit Americans and strengthen our country's financial system as well."
SaveUp was founded by Priya Haji (CEO) and Sammy Shreibati (CTO), both of whom are experienced Silicon Valley entrepreneurs.
Haji, a serial entrepreneur since age 16, has built a reputation as a Valley entrepreneur building successful companies that also have a positive impact on society. Most recently, she co-founded and led World of Good, which exited to eBay in 2010; World of Good has made fair trade and sustainable products available to millions of Americans while empowering artisans in 55 countries around the globe. With a Stanford undergrad and Berkeley MBA, Priya has been recognized as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum for her ability to use technology to create scalable solutions to society's problems.
Prior to founding SaveUp, Shreibati was the first employee and the Head of Product and Director of Engineering at PrepMe, which provides personalized PSAT, SAT and ACT test preparation via the internet. At PrepMe, Shreibati wrote the first version of the software, and later led the engineering team in building a scalable, sustainable product. Sammy studied Electrical Engineering with a concentration in Computer Design at Stanford University.
Founded in 2011, San Francisco-based SaveUp created the first, free nationwide rewards program that encourages Americans to save money, pay down their debts and make positive changes to their financial behaviors. By partnering with major consumer brands, SaveUp gives players the opportunity to win exciting or life-changing prizes for performing every-day financial activities. The company is funded by BlueRun Ventures and True Ventures. For more information about participating or sponsorship opportunities, please visit us at www.saveup.com.
About BlueRun Ventures
BlueRun Ventures is a leading early stage venture capital firm focused on Internet, Mobile and Media opportunities. BlueRun works closely with entrepreneurs to build market-changing companies such as PayPal, WiderThan, slide and Enpocket. With offices in Menlo Park, Beijing, Shanghai, Seoul, and Helsinki, BlueRun brings distributed insight to each market and opportunity to help young companies navigate dynamic markets. For more information, www.brv.com.
About True Ventures
True Ventures is a Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm supporting great people in great markets since 2006. Started by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs, the team provides funding, resources, and counsel to early stage, high tech startups and their visionary founders. Our portfolio includes investments in Wordpress, BrightRoll, Fitbit, Bandcamp, Milo, Puppet Labs, Urban Airship, and StockTwits, to name a few. For more information on True Ventures, please visit http://www.trueventures.com.
(1) Source: Federal Reserve's G.19 report on consumer credit, July 2011