Everything You Want To Know About The Most Secretive Startup In The World (Next Jump)
January 14, 2010 at 16:06 PM EST
In the annals of stealth startups, Next Jump deserves its own chapter. It's not often that a company can build a large and successful business for 15 years, raise $45 million in venture capital, hire 225 people, and sign up 60 percent of the Fortune 500 as customers without anybody ever hearing about it. Yet that is exactly what Next Jump did until the first story ever written about the company appeared in the New York Times last month. The $45 million came over the course of 8 rounds and all from angel investors, including early Google investor Ram Shriram and Deutche Bank asset management chief Kevin Parker (who are both board members). The company is now coming out of its shell, partly because it is so big that it can no longer hide. "Our thought was to stay quiet until it feels like we had an elephant under a hay stack," CEO and founder Charlie Kim tells me during a recent visit to Next Jump's Manhattan headquarters, which take up two floors of a downtown office building. Next Jump runs perhaps the largest set of direct merchant offers businesses in the world, making the growing preponderance of offers in social games seem primitive by comparison. It operates employee discount and reward programs on behalf of 90,000 corporations, organizations and affinity groups which reaches more than 100 million consumers. Next Jump connects 28,000 retailers and manufacturers to these consumers, typically getting the merchants to offer deep discounts to its members. In Kim's eyes, this is a much better way to advertise. His pitch to merchants everywhere is this: "Take your ad budget and use it to lower prices for targeted sets of customers. The user is in market, and conversion rates are through the roof." According to Kim, Next Jump's conversion rate on offers is 11 to 1, compared to 1000 to 1 or worse for typical Internet ad conversion rates.