Boston’s Moontoast Buys Spendship, a Nashville Startup With WI Roots

Spendship, a mobile marketing startup with Wisconsin roots, has been acquired for an undisclosed sum by Boston-based adtech company Moontoast, the companies announced Thursday.

Jason Weaver, founder and former CEO of Madison, WI-based Shoutlet, created the Spendship platform as a way for businesses to simultaneously boost sales and relationships with consumers by “turning fans into a sales force.” Companies that partner with Spendship ask their customers and social media followers to promote their products and services to friends, and the advocates are rewarded with points that can be redeemed for products.

Weaver initially intended to base Spendship’s operations in Wisconsin, per an interview last summer with the Wisconsin State Journal. (His initial investors and the company’s lawyers are based in the Badger State, he told Xconomy.)

But Weaver ended up locating the startup in Nashville, TN, where he had moved. Spendship has seven employees, he said.

“We love this city and believe it has an exciting technology future ahead of it,” Weaver said in an e-mail.

Spendship raised $1.6 million in October from Nashville-based investment firm The Martin Companies—which has also invested in Moontoast—and individual investors, Weaver said. Spendship’s platform hit the market in December. Just five months later, it’s now part of Moontoast, although the Spendship name isn’t going away, Weaver said.

The quick turnaround from launch to company exit was a result of “creating value” and proving Spendship’s model could scale, Weaver said. He declined to share specific revenue numbers or percentage growth.

“Moontoast recognized that and wanted to help us accelerate,” Weaver said.

Why sell the company so quickly? Weaver credits Moontoast CEO Blair Heavey’s “excellent track record in the affiliate marketing space.”

“I was relying on him a great deal for strategic advice, which proved to be instrumental in our growth,” Weaver said. “We mutually agreed that our companies would grow faster together than apart, so we decided to become a Moontoast company.”

Weaver will now head up product development for Moontoast.

“Spendship has a powerful and refreshing take on affiliate and loyalty marketing,” Heavey said in a press release. “We believe Spendship will give our clients and prospects a combined engagement and retention platform that fulfills an obvious and overlooked market need.”

Moontoast, founded in 2008 in Nashville, helped country music stars Taylor Swift and Keith Urban promote themselves on social media in the startup’s early days, according to the Boston Business Journal. Moontoast—which has raised more than $16 million in venture funding, according to SEC documents—has created a social-media ad platform that has lured customers including Toyota, TBS, and Condé Nast. Its headquarters are now in Boston, with additional offices in Nashville, San Francisco, and New York, according to its website.

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