Ibotta, the leading mobile rewards app and startup born and grown in Denver, is about to get even bigger.
With Series D financing led by Koch Disruptive Technologies (Koch) and a new valuation of $1 billion, Ibotta crossed the threshold into “unicorn” territory – or, a privately-owned company valued at more than $1 billion – making it one of only a few in Denver.
“It’s our mission to make every purchase rewarding,” said Bryan Leach, founder and CEO of Ibotta, “and this investment is going to help us make that happen in new ways. But it’s also going to allow us to create more highly-skilled fintech jobs right here in Colorado.”
While Denver is still a growing player in the tech sector, it’s rapidly developing into a South West destination for startups and fresh thinking. In 2018 alone, employment in tech-focused careers grew by more than 7,000 jobs in Colorado, with many of these roles located in Denver and the surrounding metro area.
“As big as we get, as many downloads as we accumulate, we’ll always see ourselves as a Denver company,” said Leach. “That’s something we take a lot of pride in. We’re doing something really special in a city that is, from a tech perspective, growing right along with us. And we’re proud to be part of that growth.”
For Koch, investing in startups beyond the Silicon Valley has become a trend and business strategy. Of the company’s five most recent investments, three have been in companies outside traditional tech hubs. (See Desktop Metal, INSIGHTEC, D2IQ formerly Mesosphere.) It’s also consistent with Koch’s interest in companies specializing in emerging technologies that have the potential to disrupt entire industries and change the way we live, work, play and even buy things.
“We believe that great ideas and startups can emerge and thrive anywhere, so we don’t limit ourselves to just one geographical area,” said Chase Koch, president of Koch Disruptive Technologies. “Ibotta is a great example of that. They’ve built strong relationships with hundreds of retailers and brands, including some of our own, and they’ve done it in a relatively short amount of time from the middle of America.”
Since 2011, Ibotta has helped 35 million users earn nearly $600 million in cash back on everyday purchases simply by opening their phones and adding offers in the mobile app. When offer conditions are met, consumers earn cash back after checkout, or money is automatically added to users’ accounts.
It’s a paperless approach that is revolutionizing the way consumers save by reaching today’s shoppers at the point of purchase on the one device they rely on most: their smartphones. It also dovetails into many participating companies’ existing loyalty programs, adding an additional layer of incentive.
And Ibotta continues to grow. With the launch of its own “Pay with Ibotta” payment solution, the company now has its sights set on grabbing a piece of the $100 trillion digital payments market. So far, more than 30 major retailers and restaurants have adopted Pay with Ibotta, including Chipotle, Walmart, Olive Garden, Foot Locker and Home Depot.
“Ibotta’s business model and vision for the future were primary drivers behind our decision to invest,” added Koch. “The potential for growth into the digital payments market is exciting, and we're looking forward to helping Ibotta put more money back in the pockets of consumers. It’s a real win-win.”
The Ibotta app is available for Apple iOS and Android.