PayPal Acquires “Growth Hacking” Start-Up Iron Pearl
April 14, 2013

PayPal Acquires “Growth Hacking” Start-Up Iron Pearl

redOrbit Staff & Wire Reports — Your Universe Online

In an effort to help grow their user base more quickly, online payment service provider PayPal has announced the acquisition of Palo Alto, California-based “growth hacking” start-up Iron Pearl.

Iron Pearl, a customer acquisition and retention firm started by Stan Chudnovsky and James Currier, promised “sustained viral growth and longer-term customer retention via a suite of optimization tools through which to monitor user engagement and product stickiness,” John Paczkowski of All Things D wrote on Thursday.

On the surface, that might not seem like the kind of pitch that would interest an established service with more than 120 million users in 190 different markets. However, according to Reuters reporter Alistair Barr, the eBay subsidiary has seen its growth slow in recent years, and new PayPal president David Marcus is looking for ways to reverse that trend.

Both Iron Pearl founders will join PayPal´s newly formed “growth” division, Paczkowski and Kim-Mai Cutler of TechCrunch said. Chudnovsky will be the company´s new vice president of growth, while Currier will be a growth advisor, though he will not be joining the firm on a full-time basis. They will be tasked with helping improve increase the five million new members that joined PayPal during the fourth quarter of last year.

“Stan is a visionary in the emerging science of growth and he has a remarkable track record of success as an entrepreneur,” Marcus said in a blog post dated April 11. “There are only a handful of world-renowned ℠Growth Hackers´ with amazing track records and Stan is one of them.

“He managed to create genuine and sustained viral growth and retention for his own startups, and has advised others to grow at a tremendous pace, leading to hundreds of millions of unique new users. We´re confident that applying this unique, and highly effective skill set to PayPal will lead to making our groundbreaking payments experiences even more ubiquitous for our merchants and consumers,” he added.

Chudnovsky and Currier founded and ran Tickle, an early social media firm and one of the first companies to foray into the work of online viral marketing, according to Marcus. Tickle was later acquired by Monster for more than $100 million. The Iron Pearl duo then went on to create family-friendly online social game developer Wonderhill, and Chudnovsky also worked for companies such as GoodReads, Path, and BranchOut.