CashStar picks former Boston-area tech exec as new leader

Posted Oct. 07, 2013, at 1:07 p.m.

PORTLAND, Maine — CashStar, a tech company that provides digital gift card services to major retail brands, has a new president and CEO.

Steven Boal, founder and chairman of CashStar, tapped Ben Kaplan to take the Portland-based company’s helm as it seeks to grow its business in the digital gift market, according to a news release from the company.

CashStar was founded in Portland in late 2007. Today it employs more than 80 people and has raised more than $30 million in venture capital and private investment. Among its clients are such well-known companies as Starbucks, Best Buy, Home Depot and Williams-Sonoma. In August, it showed up on Inc. magazine’s list of the fastest growing private companies at No. 104 after posting 2012 revenue of $9.7 million, which represented 3,414 percent growth from its 2009 revenue.

Kaplan joined CashStar in August as chief operating officer. He succeeds David Stone, who left the company in April.

“Since joining CashStar, Ben has rapidly made a significant and positive impact on the company,” Boal said in a statement. “It became clear quite quickly that his abilities to drive both innovation and operational excellence make him exactly the right person for the role of president and CEO.”

Boal has served as CashStar’s interim CEO since Stone’s departure. Boal is a Silicon Valley entrepreneur and CEO of Coupons.com Inc., which employs roughly 500 people and is headquartered in Mountain View, Calif.

In an interview in May, Boal told the Bangor Daily News that CashStar will remain in Maine and is poised for growth. He said it has the potential to grow as big as Coupons.com.

Kaplan also will retain a seat on the company’s board of directors, which he received when he joined CashStar in August, according to the release.

Previously, Kaplan served as chief operating officer of Cartera Commerce, a Lexington, Mass.-based provider of card-linked marketing services for banks and retailers.

In a statement, Kaplan said CashStar is at an “exciting point” in its evolution, and is well positioned to take advantage of the shift toward mobile and the convergence of digital gift cards, loyalty programs and payments.

“With the incredibly talented team at CashStar, I am confident that we will continue to grow, innovate and change the way the world thinks about digital gifting,” he said.

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