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Why Bryan Leach Left His Law Firm To Help Others Save Money

Why Bryan Leach Left His Law Firm To Help Others Save Money

Benzinga's Fintech Focus Podcast features conversations with the biggest names in fintech. Subscribe to the Fintech Focus newsletter to get a roundup of industry news delivered to your inbox weekly, and check out upcoming programming at Benzinga events.

Bryan Leach was coming back from a law conference when he saw a woman taking pictures of her receipts to log her business expenses. That gave him an idea: what if that same idea could be used to give people access to instant cash-back rewards?

One problem: he knew nothing about starting a technology company or e-commerce. But that didn’t stop him from founding Ibotta, an e-commerce and mobile payments company that allows users to earn cash back on in-store and online purchases just with a proof of receipt.

Leach sat down with Benzinga on this week’s episode of the Fintech Focus.

How Ibotta Got Started

Prior to founding Ibotta Leach was a successful lawyer, clerking for former Supreme Court Justice David Souter and building a private practice in Denver. In 2012, he left the world of law to pursue his passion of selling ideas. He had no business background, but his vision created a company that now has over 500 employees and raised almost $100 million. It has had 31 million downloads and saved its users over $10 billion.

Leach’s father ran Harbinger Corporation, an electronic data interchange company that became one of the first companies to ship orders and send purchase notifications via modems. That gave him some exposure to the world of entrepreneurship. Leach also said talking to experts in consumer-facing industries helped him get confidence to venture into a space he had no prior experience in by himself.

“I had never started a company before, I had never been in a consumer-facing industry,” Leach said. “I literally was just a lawyer who had no savings and I just had this two-pager. I kept asking people who knew a lot more than me to teach me, and I kind of got a PhD on the side.”

How The App Works

To receive cash-back, Ibotta users go into the app and see a product they are interested in. After completing tasks related to that product offer, such as reading a quick fact, users purchase the product at a participating store. They then redeem their cash-back rewards after providing proof of purchase. Users can cash-out on rewards via PayPal (NASDAQ: PYPL) or Venmo or exchange them for gift cards once they get at least $20 in rewards.

The app is partnered with over 300 stores and websites, such as Walmart (NYSE: WMT) and Travelocity. Leach said partnering with Ibotta also helps retailers keep track of important metrics like inventory.

“For instance, being able to scan a QR code from the screen of a mobile device, that doesn't just benefit Ibotta consumers who are looking to get cashback through Pay With Ibotta,” Leach said. “It also helps them with inventory management, returns, ... with their own gift cards, it helps them with other things. It's really helping to make the case for an investment in a marketing program that will appeal to the next generation of shoppers.”

What’s Coming Next

Iobotta recently announced a new payments solution called Pay With Ibotta™, which lets shoppers pay for their purchase with the Ibotta app and instantly earn cash-back. This will allow Ibotta users to enter the purchase total into the app, prompting retailers to scan the app for an instant cash-back rewards. Users who link their credit cards with the app will also be able to stack their credit card awards with their Pay with Ibotta™ earnings.

Listen to the full interview below to hear more on how Leach made it happen.

Posted-In: Fintech Entrepreneurship Success Stories Tech Interview General Best of Benzinga


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