SEASON 1 EPISODE 4
online marketplace that allows users to sell and exchange unused gift cards
$150,000 for 20%
$200,000 for 50%
Kevin O’Leary and Robert Herjavec
OUT OF BUSINESS
Growing up, Kwame Kuadney overcame substantial challenges that made him struggle through his early education. However, the lack of running water, electricity, and other glitches back at home only motivated his ambition to better his life and accomplish his dreams. His determination propelled him, and Kwame joined John Hopkins University to study for his MBA. During this time, he was having simple conversations with a friend who complained of his several unclaimed gift cards that he would never use. The exchanges drew Kwame’s inspiration for Gift Card Rescue.
Starting Gift Card Rescue
The John Hopkins Alumni Kwame Kuadney started the company in 2008. The main idea was vending unsolicited gift cards to permit people to purchase discounted gift cards and exchange the cards. The dynamic and ambitious Kwame invested his funds and credit cards and sought loans to set up the Gift Card Rescue, which people embraced in the market. Like other startup companies, Kwame experienced significant monetary challenges as the business propagated above his resources. He had substantial support from his wife, but he needed capital to grow the company to grander heights. Kwame had immense confidence in increased profits noting that his sales reached $120,000 a year.
Gift Card Rescue on Shark Tank
In need of more funding, Kwame approached Shark Tank, and two sharks Kevin O’Leary and Robert Herjavec, offered Kwame $200,000 for 50%, and he accepted the offer. His confidence in his business’s value and the ultimate popularity he garnered from his appearance in the show earned Kwame significant interests from other parties, including interests from a partnership with Amazon. Consequently, he turned down the offer from the two sharks since he could not give up 50% of his business.
Gift Card Rescue After Shark Tank
The company received significant attention for its successes. It was featured on Inc. Magazine’s annual “Inc. 5000,” which recognizes and ranks the fastest-growing U.S. companies based on an analysis of three-year revenue growth. After his pitching on Shark Tank, he reported revenue growth from $250,000 to $2 million. His hard work and approaches led his company growth to clear $6 million in sales in 2012, and the following year it rose to $10 million. Gift Card Rescue was recognized as the most successful business to be featured in Shark Tank. In 2014, the young entrepreneur was awarded the E.Y, Entrepreneur of the Year award due to his business successes.
Gift Card Rescue Today
After eight years of business and significant success. Gift Card Rescue shut down, leaving behind stranded customers. Kwame Kuadney, the founder, blamed the industry’s collapse on the lack of adequate financing to maintain its sustainability. Things went under in July 2016 after a lender sued the company for loan default and won the case. Consequently, the company’s bank accounts were frozen, and no progress would take place.
There were over 300 complaints about the Gift Card Rescue website, mostly from sellers who never received payments. The company was still struggling to resolve numerous disputes and blamed its senior lenders’ for the collapse.
Despite it’s failing status, the Gift Card Rescue website still is still up and running for those interested in learning more about it.