SMS Masterminds' Alex Minicucci is named CEO of SpendSmart Payments

jlynem@thetribunenews.comApril 16, 2014 

Alex Minicucci is the founder of SMS Masterminds, a loyalty marketing business that provides contact through text messaging, email and social networking.

DAVID MIDDLECAMP — dmiddlecamp@thetribunenews.com Buy Photo

The SpendSmart Payments Co., which provides prepaid payment cards, has named Alex Minicucci chief executive officer following its merger with SMS Masterminds, the local mobile marketing firm Minicucci founded in 2009.

SpendSmart, founded in 2007 and based in Des Moines, Iowa, acquired SMS Masterminds in a nearly all-stock deal valued at more than $5.2 million when the deal closed in February. Employees of SMS Masterminds, specializing in loyalty marketing for small businesses through text messaging, email and social networking, were given full stock as part of the deal. SMS Masterminds is now a division of SpendSmart Payments Co.

SpendSmart’s headquarters is being moved to San Luis Obispo and is already operating primarily out of San Luis Obispo, Minicucci said. It has raised more than $12 million, making it well capitalized and positioned to invest and grow, said Minicucci, also a director on the company’s board.

Minicucci, who’s now managing the combined entity of SpendSmart and Masterminds, said the company intends to stay “relatively small and nimble.”

However, the entire company is expanding, he said. The company has 19 employees and expects to double in size in the next few years. It is currently searching for software developers and sales staff.

“I have a real love for San Luis Obispo,” Minicucci said. “I was born here and grew up here, and along with other CEOs in town, I’m trying to change the perception that you can’t find talent or build great companies.”

SpendSmart is publicly traded as an over-the-counter stock, which means that it is a small company not listed or traded on a formal stock exchange like the NYSE.

Minicucci, now SpendSmart’s largest shareholder with 15 percent ownership, said being publicly traded means greater transparency and oversight. As well, it brings a higher level of credibility to the company and gives him an opportunity to use the stock like currency to buy companies that interest him, he said.

“If I see a company I like for $3 million, for example, I can issue shares, and it provides a benefit to the company and to my shareholders, and we all win,” he noted.

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