Bootstrapped employee recognition startup MeritShare acquired after 17 months

Kevin Nakao and Travis Pearl of MeritShare

Kevin Nakao and Travis Pearl of MeritShare

MeritShare, a Seattle startup founded just 17 months ago by former WhitePages execs Kevin Nakao and Travis Pearl, has been acquired by 95-year-old Grand Rapids, Michigan-based employee reward and recognition company Terryberry.

Terms of the deal were not disclosed, though Nakao tells GeekWire that it was a “good financial outcome.”

“The reason we started the company was to get peer recognition programs used by more companies, and we came to the conclusion that mission was better served by this deal,” said Nakao.

Nakao and Pearl — recent grads of the 9Mile Labs accelerator program — will not join Terryberry as part of the deal.

meritshare-logo1“Travis and I have strong roots and family in the Pacific Northwest,” said Nakao. “If not for location, we would have loved to join their fantastic team and help companies deploy effective recognition programs. This was not an acqui-hire, and the value is based on the customers, product, and IP we developed.”

About 100 customers were either using MeritShare, or in the company’s sales pipeline. Companies used the service to empower employees to recommend someone for an award tied to specific actions within the company — rather than the more traditional awards tied to years of service.

Mike Byam, managing director of Terryberry, said that MeritShare’s technology fit nicely with its own GiveaWOW platform.

“MeritShare’s clients were requesting some additional robust features that GiveaWOW already offered,” he said. “We feel the two companies combined are able to offer more comprehensive solutions to the MeritShare clients and increase employee engagement more rapidly.”

  • Nat Salvione

    Congrats Kevin and Travis – great platform you two built!

  • Lovelletters

    Congrats Kevin and Travis! Love how you crowd-sourced and democratized employee recognition. Looking forward to seeing what y’all do next!!

    • Kevin Nakao

      We had good presentation training thanks to you Rebecca!

  • Vroo (Bruce Leban)

    Congrats! One success, eight to go for 9 mile labs, cohort 1.

  • http://www.verespej.com/ Hakon Verespej

    So fast! Nice success story. Way to go Kevin & Travis!

  • Lacy Kemp

    Right on Kevin! This is so cool!

  • http://www.twitter.com/algard algard

    Congrats Kevin and Travis!

  • Damon Danieli

    Huge congratulations Kevin and Travis! Job well done.