It’s a founders’ story that has you waiting for a punch line: a rabbi-in-training from Brooklyn and a California concert photographer get together and start a company. Guess what business they’re in?
If you say a startup that makes money by rewarding online consumers for watching cooking show videos, playing computer games, taking surveys, and shopping, you’d be correct. But even the founders of Swagbucks and its parent company Prodege LLC wouldn’t have guessed that in 2005, when they were bootstrapping entrepreneurs in a tiny office providing white-label search engine platforms for charities, says photographer Scott Dudelson, who co-founded the firm with its CEO Josef Gorowitz.
Two pivots later, though, they’ve created a profitable, 10 million-member business that grew revenues 30 percent to $53 million a year in 2013. There are 110 employees at their El Segundo, California headquarters.