Is Jon Carder from Mars? The Contrarian Views of Mogl’s Founding CEO

2/7/13Follow @bvbigelow

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the Mogl rewards program, Carder said restaurants agree to pay 15 percent of each Mogl user’s tab—10 percent goes to the customer’s automatic cashback reward, 1 percent is used to fund the cash prize jackpots awarded to the top three Mogl customers each month, ½ percent goes to buy meals at Feeding America, and Mogl keeps 3½ percent as its fee.

“Initially, the restaurants are the hardest part,” Carder said. “We’re kind of the Lamborghini of restaurant reward programs. We’re expensive, but it works well. It works really well.”

In the San Diego area, more than 800 restaurants have enlisted since Mogl rolled out its rewards program over two years ago.

After raising $10 million in venture capital just over a year ago, Mogl has expanded into San Francisco, where there are more than 300 participating restaurants, as well as Los Angeles, Orange County, and Ventura County. Altogether, Mogl now has almost 2,000 participating restaurants, “which makes us the largest restaurant coupon or rewards program in California,” Carder said.

With its strong California base, Carder said Mogl is ramping up for a major nationwide expansion by the middle of next year. “We’re really starting to crank things,” he said. “We’ve got the venue acquisition dialed in, and we’re now starting to focus on expanding our member acquisition.”

As part of that effort, Mogl and California-based Virgin America announced a strategic partnership last month that ties Mogl’s restaurant rewards into Virgin America’s Elevate frequent flyer program. Carder said Mogl will be announcing more “huge partnerships” over the next few months, along with a new initiative that calls for installing thousands of iPads in restaurants, with a new imbedded Mogl app that gamifies the “fighting hunger” piece of Mogl’s business.

Expanding nationwide also would involve taking on more rivals, including LevelUp of Boston, Belly of Chicago, and Pirq of Kirkland, WA—along with the well-established loyalty reward programs of American Express and other credit card companies. Yet Carder remains confident in Mogl’s core strategy, citing the “annoying” features of other programs, and the rules and restrictions imposed by other cash-back programs.

“With Mogl, its any time and every time and there is no limit to the cash back you can earn,” Carder says. “One customer has earned almost $10,000 back.”

In other words, there is nothing else out there like Mogl—at least not to Carder.

Bruce V. Bigelow is the editor of Xconomy San Diego. You can e-mail him at bbigelow@xconomy.com or call (619) 669-8788 Follow @bvbigelow

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  • Aston

    Mogl.com employees should be polishing up their resumes right
    now, after hearing Jon already burned through the first two rounds of financing.
    With numerous paid trips to Necker Island, to party with Richard Branson and all those 12-cent donations per meal to Feeding America – the money is spent.

    The clock is ticking to see when Jon bails again to do something else. Anyone remember Mojo Pages? It’s like a Yelp but without all the users and revenue. Time to use Mojopages.com to search “life preserver”.

  • pattymelt20002000

    Who knows Pandora is still alive

  • Owner

    Absolutely the most obnoxious company I have ever dealt with!