Ibotta says its average user earns $256 in cash back each year. Now, you could earn even more, by investing in the company that makes that cash back possible.

The privately-run Ibotta plans to go public, filing paperwork to sell $100 million in stock in an initial public offering it hopes will help the company continue to grow. Institutions and individual investors who buy in, will be able to own a stake in the company’s future success.

So if you’re an Ibotta user and a shareholder, every time you buy a product and submit for a rebate, you’ll not only be getting cash back, but you’ll be paying yourself by helping to boost Ibotta’s performance and, consequently, its stock price.

Ibotta reports that its revenue, its user base and the number and value of its offers are all on the rise. Last year, 8.2 million users redeemed more than 256 million offers.

“We believe Ibotta is well positioned to capitalize on a large and growing market opportunity,” Ibotta’s filing statement reads. In addition to engaging with shoppers who use the Ibotta app, “we are focused on expanding our audience by building new partnerships with retailers,” similar to the Ibotta-powered manufacturer offers that Walmart features, or Dollar General’s Cash Back Offers. And the company is also exploring the possibility of publishing “content on the properties of delivery service providers, specialty retailers, and other, non-retailer publishers.”

Ibotta launched in 2012, as a new and different way to save. “Compared to a world of cutting out paper coupons from the newspapers, carrying them around in a purse or wallet and presenting them at checkout,” Ibotta’s filing reads, “we reduce the number of steps required to save by placing digital offers at the consumer’s fingertips.”

Paper coupons “have several obvious drawbacks,” Ibotta says. They have less reach these days, they require manufacturers to provide “the same discount to everyone, regardless of their past purchase behaviors,” and manufacturers have to pay to distribute them, regardless of whether they’re actually used – most of which aren’t.


The advent of digital coupons solved some of those problems, but they “still left much to be desired,” Ibotta points out. They’re mostly retailer-specific, so you can’t clip a digital coupon and redeem it wherever you’d like. Manufacturers have to pay when their digital coupons are clipped, whether or not they’re used. And after accepting a digital coupon, retailers still have to wait to be reimbursed by the manufacturer

So Ibotta believes its solution, in which no one has to pay anything until a sale is made, and shoppers get cash back wherever they shop without having to bring anything to the store, represents the very the future of promotions.

So will Wall Street think so?

In recent years, brands like SmartSource, Checkout 51 and Coupons.com have changed hands from publicly-traded companies to privately-held new owners. So Ibotta’s debut on the New York Stock Exchange (under the ticker symbol “IBTA”) will make it one of the few public companies in the coupons, promotions and rebates space. Former Coupons.com owner Quotient Technology was the last major promotions company to launch a splashy IPO. But long-term investors who got in on the ground floor back in 2014, paying a $16-per-share IPO price, were left holding the bag nine years later when the company sold for $4 per share – a 75% loss.

But Quotient was never profitable. Ibotta turned a profit last year, and says its future is bright – for retailers, manufacturers, shoppers and investors alike.

“So far, we have given approximately $1.8 billion in cash back to U.S. consumers on their everyday purchases,” Ibotta founder and CEO Bryan Leach wrote in a letter to potential investors. “But we’re just getting started.”

Ibotta’s slogan is “make every purchase rewarding”. And now, that could refer to your brokerage account just as easily as to your grocery budget.

Image source: Ibotta


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