Blueboard Raises $9.3M to Grow Its Employee Recognition Platform

In March, the company launched more than 130 in-home and virtual experiences in response to the pandemic, including art classes and cooking demos.

Written by Jeremy Porr
Published on Sep. 25, 2020
Blueboard Raises $9.3M to Grow Its Employee Recognition Platform
A photo of the Blueboard team offsite.
photo: Blueboard

San Francisco-based rewards platform Blueboard helps companies of any size create personalized employee recognition and incentive programs that celebrate their best talent. The company offers up more than 4,000 personalized experiences for employees to choose from including golfing excursions, fitness classes, wine tastings and more.

Blueboard raised $9.3 million in a Series A round announced on Thursday to help celebrate employees across the country. The round was co-led by Brent Hill and Origin Ventures and will be used to invest in product development and scale the platform in order to meet customer demand.

“We want to help people challenge their comfort zone, indulge in a passion or try something new,” co-founder and COO Kevin Yip said in an interview with Built In. “When you’re able to have those three things, you’re able to kind of tilt your perspective or learn something completely new about yourself.”

A photo of the Blueboard interface.
Image: Blueboard

Yip and co-founder Taylor Smith launched the platform in 2014. The two Bay Area natives have known each other since the third grade, where they met playing as part of an Asian basketball league.

Their friendship continued throughout college where the two became roommates and eventually began their first corporate jobs. Yip worked as an accountant for PwC and Smith worked as an advisor at Accenture. They were frustrated by how their employers recognized their hustle.

“Both him and I had received, like, tons of gift cards, we were completely burnt out, we were feeling miserable and the gift cards felt kind of like a slap in the face a little bit for all the hard work we were doing,” Yip continued.

The two eventually put their heads together, quit their jobs and began work on a platform that could potentially provide top performers at any company with memorable experiences that would last a lifetime.

“If you look at companies and managers, and how they think about rewarding their employees, generally, they’re very well intentioned, they want to do the best thing for their employees,” Smith told Built In.

The issue, according to Smith, is that most managers simply don’t have the time to plan and curate said experiences for said employees. Blueboard’s concierge service handles all of the messy details commonly associated with travel, so that employers can get back to doing business.

In March, the company launched more than 130 in-home and virtual experiences in response to the pandemic. The company offers a range of social distancing-friendly activities including backyard camping, art classes and cooking demonstrations.

“Ultimately, we want to have experiences available for every person in every corner of the world,” Smith said.

According to the company, Blueboard has experienced 608 percent revenue growth since its last fundraise in 2018. The company also just came in No. 785 on the 2020 Inc. 5000 list of the fastest-growing companies in the United States.

Blueboard’s clients include Pinterest, Shake Shack and Ubisoft.  The company has raised $15.8 million in venture capital financing to date, according to Crunchbase.

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