The Cardlytics team at their Krog Street offices. The company will soon move to Ponce City Market.
The Cardlytics team at their Krog Street offices. The company will soon move to Ponce City Market.

By Collin Kelley
INtown Editor

When it was announced last year that Atlanta-based Cardlytics was one of the first businesses to sign a lease at Ponce City Market, you might have asked – like we did at INtown – what does the company do?

It turns out the company works with banks to provide a service that most debit cardholders take for granted. Created by Candler Park resident Scott Grimes and Lake Clair resident Lynne Laube, Cardlytics does the research and provides the offers and deals that show up for bank customers to use, such as a discount for an iced latte or a two-for-one special at a local restaurant.

Since its founding in 2008, Cardlytics – which has the tagline “Reach Every One”  – has partnered with more than 400 financial institutions, including Bank of America, PNC Bank, Regions Bank and Lloyds of London. The company also has offices in San Francisco, New York and London and employs 250 people.

Known as “card-linked marketing,” the patented technology created by Cardlytics gives banks and advertisers insight into the consumer purchase behavior of 70 percent of U.S. households.

Kasey Byrne, senior vice-president of marketing, said consumers’ privacy is at the forefront of Cardlytics’ partnerships with banks. While a consumer’s purchase history can be seen to provide deal recommendations, the cardholder’s identity never leaves the bank’s servers.

Byrne gave this example of how Cardlytics works: A regular Starbucks customer who uses a Bank of America debit card to make their purchases might see a special offer on coffee in their BankAmeriDeals account.

“The offers are very relevant,” Byrne said. “The deals come from your everyday purchases and are loaded onto your card. It’s super simple.”

Grimes and Laube were working at Capital One when they stumbled upon the idea for Cardlytics. They were working on a project and discovered that since the majority of people have shifted to using debit cards for everyday purchases, there was a lot of potential marketing data but no way to safely record and use it.

“The data provided insight into what consumers want by looking at what they’ve purchased in the past,” Byrne said.

Creating a start-up during the financial collapse meant slow going at first, but Grimes and Laube had already began fundraising and the company has, obviously, continued to grow and thrive.

The move to Ponce City Market later this year means that Cardlytics’ Atlanta employees will all be under one roof. The staff is currently scattered at four different offices in the Old Fourth Ward. “We really wanted to be in the same office and stay in the neighborhood, because even though the offices were close by, there was a huge divide,” Byrne said. “We’re very excited about the move.”

Collin Kelley

Collin Kelley has been the editor of Atlanta Intown for two decades and has been a journalist and freelance writer for 35 years. He’s also an award-winning poet and novelist.