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NextCard Takes Stake in Flooz.com

Online credit card firm NextCard Inc. Tuesday expanded its e-commerce offerings by taking a stake in Flooz.com, a provider of online gift currency.

NextCard's (NXCD) investment marks its first equity investment in an e-commerce company. Flooz will use the investment to expand its e-commerce services. Currently it provides currency that is redeemable at more than 60 e-commerce sites, including Godiva Chocolatier, TowerRecords.com, Starbucks.com, Gymboree.com, Skechers.com, Eastern Mountain Sports, Babystyle.com, Art.com, MotherNature.com and Fogdog.com.

In addition to the investment, the two companies have formed a marketing alliance in which Flooz's online gift currency will be integrated into NextCard's e-commerce platform, cardholder services and ongoing promotions. In return, Flooz will exclusively market and promote the NextCard to its customers and pay NextCard a referral fee for each new Flooz customer generated from either NextCard's application process or current cardholder base.

"Our investment in Flooz.com is an important part of NextCard's strategy to provide our customers with the best e-commerce functionality and make it easier for consumers to shop online," said Dan Springer, chief marketing officer of NextCard. "Flooz is clearly the premier online gift currency and we're excited to invest in a company whose business complements NextCard's vision-to define and enable the consumer's Internet transaction experience."

"NextCard's investment both validates Flooz.com's core business objectives and adds a new dimension to our strategy to improve the experience of online gift-giving and shopping," said Robert Levitan, co-founder and chief executive officer of Flooz.com.