Plastic Jungle Gets a New Backer

California-based gift card exchange Plastic Jungle received a strategic investment from Citi Ventures, the unit of listed financial services firm Citigroup. Specifics of the transaction were not publicized. Plastic Jungle, in prior rounds, has taken on more than $20 million from investors including Shasta Ventures, First Round Capital, Harrison Metal Capital, Redpoint Ventures, Bay Partners and Jafco Ventures.

SAN MATEO, CA, Jan 18, 2012 — Plastic Jungle, the web’s largest secured gift card exchange, today announced that Citi Ventures, a unit of the global financial services company Citigroup, has made a strategic investment in Plastic Jungle.
Plastic Jungle brings liquidity to the secondary gift card market by allowing people to sell gift cards for up to 92% of the gift card value or buy gift cards at their favorite brands for up to 35% off. Plastic Jungle will use the investment from Citi Ventures to continue its work to unlock an estimated $41 billion in unredeemed gift cards trapped in the economy for the benefit of consumers and retailers alike.
“Demand for innovation in the secondary gift card market has heightened over the past two years; our marketplace has experienced tremendous growth as a result of increased consumer awareness, and we’ve consistently delivered original payment applications that bring value to both our customers and retail partners,” said Bruce Bower, CEO of Plastic Jungle. “Our interests line up with many of Citi’s interests, and this funding gives us an excellent opportunity to accelerate our growth and continued innovation.”
With a team comprised of former eBay, Apple, Gap, Wells Fargo, Schwab, Visa, GE, Boku and Blackhawk executives, Plastic Jungle exchanged hundreds of thousands of gift cards and tens of millions of gift card value across 400 brands in 2011, making it the largest marketplace to buy, sell and donate unredeemed gift cards.
Bruce added, “As the largest and most efficient gift card exchange, we continue to prove that the Plastic Jungle team is second to none when it comes to understanding and evolving the gift card market.”
“Plastic Jungle has established itself as a leader in the payments exchange space,” said Chris Kay, Managing Director and Head of Ventures for Citi Ventures. “Their team is focused on providing a flexible and efficient consumer experience, increasing consumer choice and driving new value from existing currencies. We are happy to help them expand and explore new paths for payments.”
About Plastic Jungle Plastic Jungle ( ) is the web’s largest secured gift card exchange, giving consumers the choice and flexibility to convert their gift cards into other forms of spending power — including online balances to use at the millions of merchants that accept PayPal; Gift Cards; and a variety of other payment formats. Plastic Jungle’s patent-pending marketplace and payment applications aim to safely unlock an estimated $41 billion in unredeemed gift cards trapped in the economy for the benefit of consumers and merchants alike. Based in San Jose, California, the company is privately held, with venture backing from Shasta Ventures, Redpoint Ventures, Jafco Ventures, First Round Capital, Bay Partners, Harrison Metal and Western Technology Investment.
About Citi Ventures Headquartered in Palo Alto with offices in New York, Shanghai and Singapore, Citi Ventures ( ) is a unit of global financial services company Citigroup. The Citi Ventures team partners with Citi businesses internally and with leading companies externally to identify, develop, and commercialize the highest new growth opportunities around the world that directly support Citi’s emerging strategic directions.
About Citi Citi, the leading global financial services company, has approximately 200 million customer accounts and does business in more than 160 countries and jurisdictions. Citi provides consumers, corporations, governments and institutions with a broad range of financial products and services, including consumer banking and credit, corporate and investment banking, securities brokerage, transaction services, and wealth management.