April 16, 2013, 8:49 AM

PayPal buys analytics software firm Iron Pearl

The company’s founders will lead a ‘user growth’ team for PayPal.

Amy Dusto

Associate Editor

Lead Photo

Online payments service PayPal, a unit of eBay Inc., has bought customer acquisition and retention software company Iron Pearl. Stan Chudnovsky and James Currier, Iron Pearl’s founders, will lead a new team focused on user growth at PayPal, the payments company says.  Chudnovsky becomes PayPal’s vice president of growth, while Currier is its growth advisor, it says.

The team will focus on increasing PayPal’s customer base and better engaging users through Iron Pearl’s analytics-based software products, which are designed for viral marketing, or tactics that spread messages quickly through social networks as consumers share them with each other, says PayPal president David Marcus in the company’s blog. “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 says.

With more than 123 million active users worldwide, PayPal is in the midst of a rapid growth period, Marcus says. Five million of its users joined the service in the last three months of 2012, the most in a single quarter over the last eight years, he says. But PayPal can “do more and grow faster,” he wrote in the blog.

Prior to founding Iron Pearl, Chudnovsky and Currier launched online career assessment testing company Tickle Inc., which also experimented in viral marketing strategies, PayPal says. Classified jobs site Monster Worldwide Inc. bought Tickle for $100 million in 2004.Then the pair founded a social gaming service, WonderHill, which online game development company Kabam acquired in 2010, according to Kabam. 

Chudnovsky has also led growth strategies for many other companies, PayPal says, including social book reviews and community site Goodreads Inc., which Amazon.com Inc. recently purchased, and BranchOut Inc., a Facebook-based professional networking company. “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,” Marcus says.

PayPal ranks second among payment services providers in the Internet Retailer Leading Vendors to the Top 1,000 E-Retailers guide; 71 retailers in the Top 500 Guide and 136 in the Second 500 list PayPal as one of their payment vendors.

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