Invest in Their Stock or Work There? Maybe both.
In the early days of Expedia and Orbitz as the go-to for travel “deals,” Rob MacLean was thinking next level when it came to the travel industry. Then VP of Sales with responsibility for the Frequent Flyer Program at Canadian Airlines, MacLean noticed in the late 90’s that while there was interest, consumers had no option to trade or sell their points.
Bringing together the best and the brightest, MacLean co-founded Points along with his business partner Christopher Barnard (founder of Canada’s first internet business incubator “Exclamation International” from which Points was created). Established in 2000, the Toronto-based company forged a new business model centered on customers exchanging loyalty currencies, which rapidly evolved into the retailing and merchandising of miles and points.
Pioneering an Ever-expanding Industry
MacLean and Barnard’s initial vision of customers trading points seemed radical at the time, but as loyalty commerce evolved in vertical sectors like financial institutions and retail, Points needed to scale to match market demands.
To that end, Points created the first universal loyalty currency platform, Points.com, that allowed users to trade points and miles between programs. Today, the platform is known as the Points Loyalty Wallet and offers users the ability to manage all loyalty programs in one spot, move points and miles between programs, and redeem them for shopping and dining gift cards. Points has partnered with 50+ loyalty partners including MasterCard, Air Canada, WestJet, Hilton Hotels, and Fairmont.
But, at the core of its business is partnering with loyalty programs to help make them more valuable and engaging to members. Through innovative solutions like Buy, Gift & Transfer, Points Travel, and the Loyalty Wallet, Points helps loyalty programs attract new members, increase their engagement, and boost ancillary revenue.
For investors, this model is interesting as the growth of the loyalty currency market is endless. Points has been experiencing a compound annual growth rate of 12% in gross profit over the past 5 years, and continues to anticipate strong growth into the future. The company is publicly traded as Points International Ltd. (TSX: PTS; NASDAQ: PCOM, read more here.)
Building a Business and Discovering a Company
MacLean was quick to point out the difference between Points as a business and as a company. With modesty, he explained that he was more surprised by the development of his company’s culture than the market’s excitement for its solutions. “Building a business—that was what came out of the business plan,” he explained, “But the company appeared when we hired honest and talented people. The culture that comes from that looks after itself.”
Looking for a career change? Consider the company’s numerous awards for maintaining an inclusive company culture, as well as its work with charities like Doctors Without Borders and Right to Play. MacLean attributed these cultural successes to the younger workforce: “They’re looking for opportunities to help in a more structured way. They’re not waiting for something to happen; they’re jumping in and driving it.” Check out job openings at Points here.