TA Associates Invests $60 Million into e-Rewards

e-Rewards Inc., a Dallas-based provider of online market research panels, has raised $60 million from TA Associates, in exchange for a minority ownership position. 



TA Associates, a leading growth private equity and buyout firm, today announced it has completed a $60 million minority investment in e-Rewards, Inc., a leading online market research panel provider.

e-Rewards is the largest “by-invitation-only” online research panel in the country, serving over 700 research firms. e-Rewards members or panelists get valuable rewards for participating in e-Rewards Opinion Panel market research surveys that have been selected to match their interests. Panelists can earn rewards from a variety of well-known partner companies, including Air France KLM, BLOCKBUSTER®, Borders®, Continental Airlines®, Delta Air Lines®, Hilton®, Macy’s®, Northwest Airlines® and US Airways®. With a proprietary database of millions of panelists, e-Rewards provides research firms with quality respondents, enabling them to interact with real consumers and business decision-makers.

“We are very pleased to partner with e-Rewards,” said A. Bruce Johnston, a Managing Director at TA Associates who will join the e-Rewards Board of Directors. “The company has created a business model where all parties enjoy a mutually beneficial relationship – panelists receive reward points, partners create brand loyalty and research firm clients are provided with a high-quality research panel. e-Rewards has the strong growth and profitability typical of TA investments, and we will work closely with the management team to further build value in this thriving enterprise.”

“We have known TA for more than a decade and are pleased to have them as an investor as we emerge as the leading online panel for the market research industry,” said Hal Brierley, Chairman and CEO, e-Rewards, Inc. “TA provided an investment structure that allows us to pursue our growth objectives and maintain the day-to-day operating structure of the company. We welcome them to the Board and look forward to having their strategic guidance and advice.”

According to INSIDE RESEARCH, the global research market is estimated to be over $30 billion, of which the U.S. research market is estimated at $9 billion. Online research is estimated to represent approximately 21% of the total U.S. market and historically has grown over 15% a year.

“We have seen a paradigm shift from offline to online surveys,” said Harry D. Taylor, a Principal at TA Associates who will also join the Board of e-Rewards. “The creation of the “Do Not Call Registry”, higher postage costs, busy consumer lifestyles and other factors have hampered the traditional phone, in-person and direct mail survey methods. Online surveys are less expensive and more scalable, and enable panelists to participate at their own convenience. As a result, the online research market is the fastest growing segment in the market research industry and we anticipate continued significant growth opportunities for e-Rewards.”

TA Associates has four decades of investing experience, focusing on profitable growth companies. TA has been an early private equity investor in leading online businesses such as Ameritrade (NASDAQ: AMTD), eDreams, IntraLinks, M and M Direct and 2nd Story Software.

Goodwin Procter served as legal advisor to TA Associates. Cooley Godward Kronish provided legal counsel to e-Rewards.

About e-Rewards, Inc.

e-Rewards, Inc., based in Dallas, TX, is the largest “by-invitation-only” online research panel, serving over 750 research firms. With millions of panelists, the e-Rewards Opinion Panels provide research firms with quality respondents, enabling them to interact with real consumers and business decision-makers. Launched in 1999, and named in 2007 by Inc. magazine as one of America’s fastest growing companies, e-Rewards employs more than 300 professionals located in Dallas, London, Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco, Chicago and Seattle. For more information, visit www.e-rewardsresearch.com.

About TA Associates

TA Associates, founded in 1968, is one of the largest and most experienced private equity firms. With offices in Boston, London and Menlo Park, the firm manages more than $12 billion in capital and has invested in more than 380 companies. TA Associates leads buyouts and minority recapitalizations of profitable growth companies in the technology, financial services, business services, healthcare and consumer industries. More information about TA Associates can be found at www.ta.com.

Safe harbor statement under the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995: Statements made in connection with this release which are not historical fact, such as forward-looking statements concerning future financial performance and growth, involve risk and uncertainties. Such statements are subject to various factors that could cause actual results to differ materially from those set forth in the forward-looking statements. Any forward-looking statements represent the best judgment of TA Associates and e-Rewards as of the date of this release. TA Associates and e-Rewards disclaim any intent or obligation to update any forward-looking statements.