500friends Secures $5M in Series B Financing From Intel Capital, Fung Capital, Crosslink Capital

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Leading Provider of Next Generation Loyalty and Lifecycle Marketing Solutions Continues its Growth as Retailers Seek to Increase Profitability by Abandoning the Culture of Rampant Discounting

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"Our relationship with 500friends has quickly emerged as a core contributor to our overall efforts to strengthen customer loyalty, increase share of wallet, and maximize the profitability of our customer relationships."

500friends today announced a $5 Million Series B round of funding led by existing investor Intel Capital and new investor Fung Capital with participation from returning investor Crosslink Capital. The latest capital infusion brings 500friends’ total funding to $12 million. The funds will be used to further enhance the omni-channel capabilities of the company’s award winning LoyaltyPlus platform.

LoyaltyPlus was designed by ecommerce and direct marketing experts to enable retailers to deploy and manage comprehensive loyalty and lifecycle marketing capabilities without the usual challenges of costly upfront custom development work, ongoing support costs, and institutional barriers to ongoing innovation. Top retailers including Build.com, Ice.com, Jewelry Television and Shoebuy.com have adopted the platform. Retailers on the platform are realizing material increases in customer profitability by reducing churn, increasing share of wallet, frequency, and engagement at each stage of their lifecycle, from the time they become aware of the brand through conversion to loyalty and ultimately advocacy. Across their customer base, 500friends has generated lifts in repeat purchase rates as high as 60% and increases in share of wallet of 15%.

"Our relationship with 500friends has quickly emerged as a core contributor to our overall efforts to strengthen customer loyalty, increase share of wallet, and maximize the profitability of our customer relationships. Loyalty is something we have always prioritized and 500friends has taken it to a new level by delivering a solution that our customers love and is now a key component of our marketing stack," said Jim Keller, CMO of Shoebuy.com

"Retailers are quickly realizing that commoditizing their value proposition with entitlement discounting isn’t sustainable,” said Justin Yoshimura, founder and CEO of 500friends. “500friends was founded to give retailers a compelling and sustainable way to migrate away from practices that fail to build lifetime value. Using loyalty program data to target different customer segments with relevant incentives is the right way to maximize the profitability of customer relationships"

“As customer acquisition costs continue to rise, increasing the profitability of existing customer relationships is now more important than ever,” said Carey Lai, Director at Intel Capital. "We have seen 500friends’ strong customer traction and are excited to show our continued support by leading this round of funding.”

“With our deep relationships with global brands and retailers, we understand their need for a loyalty solution that empowers them to retain and reward their high value customers,” said Michael Hsieh, President of Fung Capital USA. “We look forward to supporting 500friends as they cement their category leadership position.”

As part of the financing, Lai and Hsieh will join the 500friends’ Board of Directors.

About 500friends
500friends is pioneering the next generation of loyalty and lifecycle marketing solutions that enable retailers to maximize the lifetime value of their customer relationships. 500friends’ award-winning software-as-a-service platform, LoyaltyPlus™ delivers a comprehensive suite of capabilities empowering retailers to deploy next generation loyalty programs and make traditional transactional loyalty programs relevant. Founded in 2010 and based in San Francisco, the company works with more than 40 of the world’s top 1000 retailers and is funded by Crosslink Capital, Intel Capital, Fung Capital and Y-Combinator. For more information, please visit http://www.500friends.com, read the blog at http://blog.500friends.com, and follow us on Twitter @500friends.

About Intel Capital
Intel Capital, Intel's global investment and M&A organization, makes equity investments in innovative technology start-ups and companies worldwide. Intel Capital invests in a broad range of companies offering hardware, software, and services targeting enterprise, mobility, health, consumer Internet, digital media and semiconductor manufacturing. Since 1991, Intel Capital has invested more than US$10.8 billion in over 1,276 companies in 54 countries. In that timeframe, 201 portfolio companies have gone public on various exchanges around the world and 317 were acquired or participated in a merger. In 2012, Intel Capital invested US$352 million in 150 investments with approximately 57 percent of funds invested outside North America. For more information on Intel Capital and its differentiated advantages, visit http://www.intelcapital.com or follow @Intelcapital.

About Fung Capital USA
Fung Capital USA is the private investment arm of Victor Fung and William Fung who are the controlling shareholders of Li & Fung, a public company in Hong Kong that sources, distributes and retails consumer products globally with over $20B in revenues and 35,000 employees in over 40 countries. Fung Capital USA invests primarily in B2B technology companies that enable omni-channel retailing and supply chain efficiency. For more information on Fung Capital USA, visit http://www.fungcapitalusa.com.

About Crosslink Capital
Crosslink Capital believes the best way to predict the future is to create it. Crosslink is a leading stage-independent venture capital and growth equity firm that invests in digital media & Internet services, software and business services, communications services & infrastructure. The firm was one of the first and largest in the U.S. to integrate public and private growth/technology investing and maintains an active seed fund – a strategy that allows Crosslink to develop early, long-term partnerships with its portfolio companies and offer entrepreneurs a true landscape perspective on their industries. Crosslink Capital’s portfolio includes companies such as Pandora, Ancestry.com, Omniture (acquired by Adobe Systems), Equinix, Carbonite, SeaMicro (acquired by Advanced Micro Devices), Intematix, DataStax and Bleacher Report (acquired by Time Warner, Inc.). For more information on Crosslink, visit http://www.crosslinkcapital.com.

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