St. Paul-based Augeo is bringing blockchain technology to the Happenings and Entertainment coupon books that were fundraising staples of the 1980s and 1990s.

Augeo recently acquired Entertainment, the company behind those books, and plans to incorporate the company and its employees into its digital rewards platform Kigo.

The physical books were already converted into digital offerings years ago. Now they will be incorporated into Kigo's blockchain-driven app, which the company expects will make the discount and loyalty offers easier to use, manage, gift and share.

Augeo, a provider of employee engagement and customer loyalty programs, did not disclose terms of the transaction. The private company acquired Entertainment from Atlanta-based Cardlytics Inc. in a deal that closed on Dec. 7. Cardlytics had acquired Entertainment's parent company in January 2022 for $13 million.

With the addition of 50 employees from Entertainment, Augeo has about 500 employees. The company said the addition will help push Augeo's total annual revenue in 2024 to about $474 million.

Peter Schultze, president of Kigo, said they are working on integrating Entertainment and that it should be completed before spring.

David Kristal, chief executive of Augeo (and a Star Tribune board member) says the idea about loyalty programs is to bring not only an economic benefit to the users but an emotional piece as well.

Kristal stresses the blockchain technology they use isn't the cryptocurrency variety. Instead of tracking digital currency, Kigo uses the blockchain to track rewards and offers. Using blockchain technology — essentially a high-tech ledger — allows users to redeem or share the offers with others. It also allows Kigo to use a big set of data to craft the best possible offers.

Entertainment had over 300,000 content offers, mainly in dining and entertainment, from large national brands and local merchants. That greatly increases the amount of offers on the Kigo platform. Connecting the offers to the blockchain gives Kigo more options.

"There's a lot more configurability you can bring to make rewards more personalized and gamified," Schultze said.

Customers redeem the offerings through the Kigo app on their phones.

Kigo hopes to make it a benefit to the companies offering the rewards as well. "Tokenizing" the rewards will allow different brands and companies to partner on various rewards and loyalty programs.

"We're so excited about Entertainment, because it brings instant scale on the merchant content side; we've got all this this offer content that we can now bring out to consumers in this new way," Schultze said.

"We believe we're taking some of the first steps in the industry towards this future of a more open loyalty system," Schutlze said. "There's been no real sort of overarching trend in consumer loyalty for quite some time. And we think this could be it."