CEO Fails to Keep Alive GiftCardRescue.com
Citing a lack of financing, gift card exchange GiftCardRescue.com has closed up shop. Kwame Kuadey, founder and CEO, launched the company in 2008, enabling consumers to exchange unwanted gift cards or buy new ones at a discount. In a letter to customers on the company’s Website, Kuadey said one of the company’s lenders froze its bank account without warning, forcing the businesses to be shuttered earlier this month. The lender won a loan default judgment, according to a report in The Baltimore Sun.
Gift cards purchased before July 15th have been shipped to the buyers, according to the company. Consumers who sent in gift cards that had not been processed are having those gift cards returned, and consumers who have a pending payment or are waiting for a refund “will receive a separate communication,” the Website notes.
Although Kuadey launched his gift card exchange company at a time when there already were several competitors, GiftCardRescue.com had some positive publicity during its run. In 2009, Kuadey appeared on the reality show “Shark Tank,” receiving $200,000 from celebrity investors and, in 2013, the company was named to the Inc. 500 list of fastest growing private companies.
Despite the demise of GiftCardRescue.com, “The secondary gift card market seems to be a strong and growing one,” says Ben Jackson, director of the prepaid advisory service, Mercator Advisory Group. He adds that Blackhawk Network owns Cardpool and recently bought GiftCards.com, Raise is “doing a brisk business,” and CardCash.com, which acquired Plastic Jungle in 2014, has a strategic partnership with InComm.
Kuadey explored being acquired, too, he told The Baltimore Sun, by working with an investment banker to find a buyer. He also tried to renegotiate loan terms as he looked for additional financing.