Who doesn’t love good deals and discounts? Launched in 2006, Extrabux is a cash back and coupon shopping site that has allowed its 150,000 members around the world to earn over $3 million cash back. With 2,500-plus retail partners including Nordstrom, Walgreens, Expedia Groupon, The Body Shop, Starbucks, Victoria’s Secret, Musician’s Friend, Hot Topic, and MacMall, Extrabux offers shoppers exclusive coupons and 1 to 30 percent cash back on their purchases. As explained on its website, Extrabux earns a sales commission whenever a customer buys from any of its retail partners. The company then passes the majority of that commission back to the customer within 1 to 4 days – this can be sent as payment via PayPal or check, or donated to a charity.
Founders Jeff Nobbs and Noah Auerhahn, who started the business out of a University of Southern California dorm room, entered Extrabux into the school’s business plan competition two years after launching. They won $25,000, and has since raised more than $800,000 from friends, family, and angel investors. The profitable, San Diego-based company is on track to rake in revenues of over $4 million this year, a 400 percent increase compared to 2011.
Extrabux wasn’t an instant success, however. In the beginning, Nobbs and Auerhahn bootstrapped the company and didn’t have a marketing budget. Additionally, they found themselves facing a “chicken and egg” dilemma when they began looking for their first big retail partners. Without traction, big retailers wouldn’t sign on. But without big retailers, they couldn’t generate traction. As small businesses joined the program, though, Extrabux eventually attracted bigger and bigger retailers. The tipping point happened when Good Morning America featured the site on Cyber Monday in 2009, calling it “the latest shopping technique to help you save big.” Since then, Extrabux has appeared on Mashable, CNN Money, TIME, and more.