Jeff Nobbs is the founder and CEO of Extrabux, a highly regarded shopping rewards site. He co-founded Extrabux as a student at the University of Southern California in 2006. Two years later, Extrabux was submitted to the USC business plan competition, where it won first place.
Sramana: Jeff, let’s start with the beginning of your story. Where are you from? What are the circumstances that led up to the Extrabux story?
Jeff Nobbs: I am from San Diego. I was born in Northern California and spent two months there before I decided it wasn’t for me! I grew up in San Diego and went to college at USC in Los Angeles. While I was at USC, I started Extrabux with my co-founder, Noah, a guy who lived two doors down from me in the dorms. We started it as a side project while we were at school, and it stayed that way for a few years.
Our junior year we entered Extrabux into our university’s business plan competition. We ended up winning the USC business plan competition and we got $25,000. That was the first stamp of credibility that we received and the first bit of money that we got to start building our team.
Sramana: What year was that?
Jeff Nobbs: We started Extrabux in 2006, and the business plan competition was in 2008.
Sramana: You started tinkering with the idea? Was the site running before the business plan competition?
Jeff Nobbs: We did have a site running prior to the competition. It was a 1.0 version, and our business plan was for Extrabux version 2.0.
Sramana: What was the concept from 2006 to 2008? What was the pre-business plan concept?
Jeff Nobbs: The concept then was strictly cash back. At that time we wanted to start a business but we were not sure what to do. We were not even sure if we wanted it to be an online business or an offline business such as services. We just started doing Google searches for industries that were doing exceptionally well. E-commerce was doing very well and we stumbled on the idea of affiliate marketing. Advertisers were paying publishers commissions on sales for driving traffic. We thought that it would be a cool idea to leverage that model to get cash back to customers. When we opened our first version of the site, we had a couple of hundred stores. We offered cash back at those stores.