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Sparkbase's loyalty card services expected to create jobs in Cleveland area

Geoff Hardman admits that his Cleveland-based company lacks the sex appeal of other, more glamorous tech startups. As a processor of customized stored-value programs, SparkBase operates behind the scenes, servicing its client base while garnering little attention.

"Folks never think about these systems, but somebody has to make them run," says Hardman, the company's president.

When a customer uses a gift or loyalty card at one of his or her favorite merchants, the transaction is wired to a company like SparkBase, which manages and keeps track of the money. Fast becoming a leader in the stored-value card field, SparkBase handles millions of transactions annually for merchants in five different countries.

What makes SparkBase unique, says Hardman, is that clients have complete control of the loyalty card programs, which allows them to rebrand them any way they wish before marketing them to merchants. The system is also fully customizable, permitting configurations that appeal to a wider range of companies.

"We are more like a technology partner," adds Hardman. "Every bit of code, every piece of hardware is owned by us."

Founded in 2004 and located in Cleveland's AsiaTown neighborhood, SparkBase has 10 full-time employees. That number is expected to double in the very near future, says Hardman, as the technology expands to new applications.

Source: Geoff Hardman, SparkBase
Writer: Douglas Trattner

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