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Chicago consumer rewards business Belly will hire 150

Updated: February 21, 2013 5:24PM



Belly, a single-tap loyalty rewards startup founded with help from Groupon founders’ investment vehicle Lightbank, said Thursday it will hire 150 workers this year, most of whom will be in Chicago.

Belly now employs 100, with 70 of those in Chicago. Belly is headquartered in the same building as Groupon, at 600 W. Chicago Ave., and got its seed funding from Lightbank, a $200-million Chicago-based investment fund started by Groupon co-founding investors Brad Keywell and Eric Lefkofsky.

The company’s rewards iPads are popping up on the sales counters of an increasing number of Chicago-area spas, restaurants and other small businesses. Customers may use either a physical Bellycard or a mobile app to scan in on the iPad and earn points that they redeem for rewards.

Belly this week surpassed 1 million members and has 4,500 business clients nationwide, including 1,300 merchant partners in the Chicago area.

Belly, which launched in August 2011, won a 2012 “Up and Comer” award from the Chicago Innovation Awards. It was one of the growth companies listed in the Sun-Times’ Jan. 4 “Digital Second City” column’s 2013 outlook because of its rewards-based take on deal offers.

The company has raised $15.87 million in outside funding, including $2.375 million from Lightbank, $3.5 million from Silicon Valley Bank and $10 million from Andreessen Horowitz, the venture capital firm of Mosaic and Netscape co-founder Marc Andreessen.



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