March 29, 2020
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Maine tech startup sells for $175M to California digital payments giant

Troy R. Bennett | BDN
Troy R. Bennett | BDN
CashStar CEO Ben Kaplan gives a tour of his company's new open, collaborative offices on Pearl Street in Portland, Nov. 18, 2014.

Portland-based digital gift card startup CashStar sold for $175 million in cash to California-based Blackhawk Network in a deal that will keep CashStar’s New England offices and leadership in place.

The move makes CashStar part of a publicly traded and international digital payments company. It will operate under Blackhawk’s digital and incentives division.

Kini Schoop, CashStar’s spokeswoman, said the company will retain its offices in Portland and Massachusetts. The company has 175 employees at its Portland office.

[ Rapid growth of digital payments fuels CashStar’s expansion to new Old Port offices]

The Portland-based startup co-founded in 2008 by local entrepreneur David Stone grew to manage digital gift cards for clients such as Starbucks, Dunkin’ Donuts, Uber and The Home Depot. Stone left the business in 2013, and current CEO Ben Kaplan took over to manage the next stage of growth.

Kaplan will continue to lead CashStar. Blackhawk Network (NASDAQ: HAWK) owns a variety of digital gift card and payment brands, operating in 26 countries.


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