Congratulations to Growthink client DNT Express on their recent approval for financing!

Congratulations DNT Express on being approved for a $2.25 million loan! Excited to see what the future holds and how you'll continue to grow.

DNT Express is a wine distribution company located at the Capital District Regional Market in Menands, NY.  The company was founded in July, 2003 by brothers Dan and Tim Nickels.  Early on, DNT hauled a variety of products, from pharmaceuticals to auto parts. Now the Company provides wine delivery services from Rockland County to the Canadian border.  It currently serves over 100 distributors by transporting their wines to over 3,000 wine retailers and restaurants.

Congrats to our El Segundo neighbors - Swagbucks locks in $60 million in its 1st external raise!

I had the privilege of seeing Chuck and Josef present at Oasis Summit earlier this spring. They certainly had some exciting news just around the corner... Congrats to this great Los Angeles company and inspiring team!

El Segundo-based coupon site Swagbucks secures $60 million in venture capital

By Jordan England-Nelson, Long Beach Press-Telegram

POSTED: 05/13/14, 5:55 AM PDT |

A South Bay tech company has raised $60 million in its first round of external funding from Technology Crossover Ventures, a late-stage venture capital firm that has backed such heavy hitters as Facebook, Netflix and Spotify., whose parent company Prodege LLC is headquartered in El Segundo, offers gift cards to Wal-Mart, Nordstrom, and about 300 other e-commerce companies in exchange for interacting on its site. Users earn points — or “swag bucks” — when they shop, search the Web, play games or take quizzes. The company then uses the data collected to run targeted ads and drive traffic to its affiliates.

“Rewards are not just an aside, they become an emotional part of the experience,” Swagbucks President Josef Gorowitz said by phone Monday. “The consumer is constantly collecting points and having fun doing so as well.”

Swagbucks, which bills itself as the “leading rewards discovery community” and top provider of free gift cards, announced its new funding today in a press release.

The company also announced that Prodege Executive Chairman Chuck Davis will become Swagbucks’ new CEO, a role previously held by Gorowitz.

Davis’ resume includes running the discount shopping site Shopzilla and, more recently, the online movie ticket site Fandango. Davis also is a partner at Technology Crossover Ventures.

The announcement of Swagbucks’ venture funding comes amid what seems to be a boon in the online rewards and coupon sector. RetailMeNot Inc. had its initial public offering in 2013. Pre-IPO shares of Inc. jumped 90 percent after it went public in March. And Ebates Inc. is reportedly planning its IPO for later this year.

However, the real value of these rewards sites, which purportedly create value by driving traffic to affiliate partners, may be overblown.

“One of the biggest problems in e-commerce is attribution,” said Brooke Partelow, co-founder of Bounce Exchange, a conversion rate optimization company that tracks website-user engagement. “They may be taking credit and getting paid a commission for a sale that the site was going to have anyway.”

Reward platform sites like Swagbucks say they drive new customers to vendor sites, but those customers may have planned to buy from those vendors regardless. A person might search for a Hugo Boss suit on Google, find the one they want at, and then search for a coupon code.

“Vendors have a very hard time determining who gets credit for helping them sell more,” Partelow said.

Swagbucks’ $60 million deal is a coup for the tech scene in Southern California, where large scale venture capital is harder to come by than in Silicon Valley.

There’s been a lot of investment in Silicon Beach companies in West L.A. recently, but the funding tends to hover between $500,000 and $2 million, according to Matt Crowley, president of the Los Angeles Venture Association.

“When you reach out to VCs, you run into a really hard ceiling,” Crowley said. “Anytime someone raises that much money, it’s darn impressive.”

Venture capital firms invested $9.5 billion in the United States during the first quarter of 2014, according to the PricewaterhouseCoopers Money Tree Survey. About half of that was spent in Silicon Valley. Only 5.5 percent, or $520 million, was spent in the Los Angeles-Orange County area.

According to an interactive map on, a news site that keeps tabs on the industry, there are about 650 technology companies in Silicon Beach, the area stretches along the coast from Santa Monica south to Playa del Rey and east to Playa Vista. There are about 300 tech-related firms in the South Bay, according to the map.


Melissa Welch

Director of Client Development


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Growthink's Luke Brown was awarded USC's Coach, Mentor and Advisor of the Year

   Great job Luke!!
Growthink's Luke Brown was awarded USC's Coach, Mentor and Advisor of the Year earlier this week, chosen by faculty and staff at the Marshall School of Business. Brown is pictured below with Faculty Coordinator, Professor Patrick Henry of the Lloyd Grief Center for Entrepreneurial Studies. 

Luke, along with Professor Patrick Henry, led the Venture Initiation class comprised of 16 undergraduate students. Luke's years as an entrepreneur, advisor at Growthink, public speaker and his endless passion for learning and mentoring made him the perfect choice to coach this motivated class with an emphasis on Launching and Scaling Your Startup: Learn to build a startup from concept to reality with a focus on real-world entrepreneurial action and execution.

The Lloyd Grief Center for Entrepreneurship also named its 2014 Undergrad Entrepreneur of the Year. The honoree of this award, Garret Davis, is CEO and Founder of Refined Hardware, which makes limited edition luxury watches in America. Davis, 21, had sales of over $330,000 in his first year of business. His most recent introduction generated over $50,000 of orders in just 24 hours.

A BIG congratulations to our very own Luke Brown as well as Mr.Garret Davis for their hard work and much-deserved awards!

More about the USC Lloyd Greif Center for Enterpreneurial Studies at the Marshall Scool of Business can be found here:

Congratulations to Growthink Client Uvaggio on Their Grand Opening!

Growthink client Uvaggio officially opened their doors last month in Coral Gables, FL and we're excited to see all the press and buzz they've been receiving.

Founded by Craig DeWald, a former director in HR for American Express, Uvaggio is a wine bar and restaurant focused on introducing patrons to wine from small hand selected wineries and European-style plates by Chef Bret Pelaggi.

It was named one of the top 10 new Miami restaurants that opened this Spring ( and we look forward to hearing about their growth and success in the future.

Congratulations Uvaggio!