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Drop, a rewards app start-up, snags Airbnb's former head of engineering

  • Drop raised $21 million in series A funding to grow its loyalty rewards app.
  • Airbnb's former director of engineering, Ian Logan, is joining Drop in the same role.
  • The start-ups plans to use its new funding for hiring and to add more retailers to its platform.
A streetcar on the intersection of King Street and University Street in Toronto, Ontario.
Getty Images
A streetcar on the intersection of King Street and University Street in Toronto, Ontario.

Tech IPOs can turn early employees into millionaires, as Google's early cooks, custodians and others can attest. But Airbnb's former director of engineering, Ian Logan, left the travel venture before it has gone public. Now, Logan has joined a small Toronto start-up called Drop.

The Drop mobile app helps shoppers rack up and redeem points for all the things they buy through a single interface. The app makes it unnecessary to keep track of punch cards, or to look up promo codes and download app after app to get discounts or other loyalty rewards.

What was it about Drop?

"Everything was going amazingly well at Airbnb, and I was very well positioned. Some people are going to think I was crazy to move," Logan said.

Location was tantamount. Drop is based in Toronto, near an outpost for Alphabet's Sidewalk Labs. Airbnb is in the considerably more hectic downtown San Francisco.

Logan says he and his wife, who both grew up in Canada, wanted to head north to raise their kids near family. But it was also appealing to become part of an emerging tech scene, instead of staying in one that's established and harder to change.

Logan met with at least 20 different tech firms in Toronto, before he made the decision to join Drop, he said. The company seemed, in great ways, similar to early days at Airbnb. Drop's app is highly rated, draws a young and enthusiastic user base, and the company has a founding team that includes a designer, alongside business and tech executives, Logan noted.

Drop CEO and co-founder Derrick Fung said, "There's a demographic of younger people who want things to be simple, seamless and fun. This industry was cluttered with all these clunky products that caused more frustration than they helped. We consolidated it all in a way that just makes sense for someone who grew up post-mobile."

Besides bringing on a new, high-profile head of engineering, Drop also closed a $21 million series A funding round led by New Enterprise Associates. Additional investors included Sierra Ventures, White Star Capital, ff Venture Capital and others.

The company will use the funding, and tap into Logan's network, to hire more engineers, and add more retailers and intelligence to the Drop app, Fung said. It already works with Starbucks, McDonald's, Sephora, Uber, Lyft, and start-ups like Birchbox and Boxed.

Drop has also created a points system for its own employees who can rack up points for doing good things around the office, like cleaning dishes left in the sink or giving colleagues a tutorial on a new design tool. Depending on how well that goes, Drop could launch a rewards app to help business both motivate, and distribute perks, to employees. For now, it is focused on consumer loyalty rewards.