George Bousis is founder and CEO of Raise, an online marketplace where people buy and sell unused gift cards for less than their cash value.
Launched in 2013, the company raised $81 million in just over a year, making it one of the most heavily financed Chicago startups. By 2015, the company was valued at $615 million. A key growth point was the creation of a mobile app in late 2014 that allows users to buy cards and immediately use them from their phones. Bousis’ oft-used example is a user waiting in line at a store, buying a gift card for that store using the mobile app, then stepping up to the register and using that card.
Leading the latest funding round was New Enterprise Associates, with general partner Tony Florence joining the Raise board of directors.
“It’s one of the fastest-growing companies I’ve ever seen,” Florence said. “And we think George Bousis is kind of a remarkable entrepreneur. He’s the kind of guy that, as an investor, you want to be aligned with.”
Bousis also founded CouponTrade, an electronic database of coupons. He has a bachelor’s degree from DePaul University.