The Austin-based company, which creates loyalty programs for banks and local businesses, appointed Spradlin to replace Jay Valanju, the company’s founder. Valanju will become senior vice president of business development and strategic partnerships.
“This is a return for me to the Austin market,” Spradlin said.
During his previous tenure in Austin, Spradlin served as president of Hoover’s, a Dun & Bradstreet subsidiary with local 300 employees. Most recently he lived in Dallas and served as CEO of the Health Data Consortium in Washington, D.C. Before that, he served as CEO of InnoCentive in Boston. He held other executive positions with StarCite and VerticalNet and as Director of Emerging Technologies at PricewaterhouseCoopers.
“Buzz Points is in a growth spurt,” Spradlin said. “It’s growing fast with big ambitions to grow even faster.”
Buzz Points, previously known as Fisoc, has created a merchant-funded rewards platform working with local banks and credit unions and local businesses. The bank’s customers can earn points on every transaction by using their debit or credit cards when shopping. They also earn bonus points for shopping with participating local merchants.
“The whole premise is a very intriguing ecosystem can develop between consumers and merchants and banks in a community,” Spradlin said. “Sitting behind all of this is a very strong sense of buying local, shopping local and banking local.”
Last year, Buzz Points, with 60 employees, closed on $19 million in venture capital funding with a strategic investment from PULSE Network, a wholly owned subsidiary of Discover Financial Services. To date, the company has raised $26.5 million in venture capital.
Since its launch, Buzz Points has expanded to 32 markets in 24 states.
“It’s rolled out to dozens of smaller cities,” Spradlin said. “As the organization ramps up it will go to bigger cities.
Buzz Points is in Denton, Texas, with a population of about 100,000, on the outskirts of Dallas. Buzz Points partners with Point Bank and local merchants there. It is not yet available in Austin, but the city is on the agenda, Spradlin said.
“Austin has a creative, independent and unique culture,” Spradlin said.