The Sudden Closure of Blueboard: Navigating Employee Reward System Changes

Blueboard, an influential experiential rewards company with $24M in venture capital, abruptly shut down on March 12, 2024, impacting 200 employees and 500 clients. Learn from OutSail about the abrupt shutdown and how businesses are transitioning to more financially stable providers, such as Wishlist Rewards, to ensure continuous employee engagement and reward programs.

Brett Ungashick
OutSail HRIS Advisor
April 15, 2024
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The corporate world was taken aback when Blueboard, a prominent experiential employee rewards market player, suddenly ceased operations. The company's unexpected departure left over 200 employees and 500 clients in disarray. Blueboard, a popular entity and one that had garnered quite an investment with $24 million in venture capital funding, was praised for its innovative approach to employee recognition. Yet, its closure on March 12, 2024, came without forewarning, leaving only a brief note on LinkedIn and a shuttered website to explain to its stakeholders.

The impact of Blueboard's closure sent ripples throughout the industry, especially among the employees expecting rewards and benefits already earned but now inaccessible. This abrupt end to a service that many companies and their employees relied upon highlights a significant risk in modern HR frameworks dependent on third-party platforms for employee engagement.

In the wake of this disruption, organizations needing a reliable reward system are turning their attention to other providers such as Wishlist Rewards. Known for its profitability and financial robustness, Wishlist Rewards is emerging as a strong contender for those seeking stability and continuity in employee reward programs. This transition reflects a broader industry narrative on the importance of assessing service providers' sustainability and reliability in employee engagement and rewards.

Blueboard: A Snapshot of Success and Sudden Fall

The unexpected shutdown of Blueboard on March 12, 2024, left the HR solutions and employee rewards industry in a state of surprise, impacting numerous clients and their employees with pre-funded experiential rewards now left unsupported.

Company Overview

Blueboard, once a popular provider of innovative employee rewards, became a significant figure in the HR solutions market, leveraging the shift towards experiential rewards. It grew to serve over 500 customers, employed around 200 personnel, and attracted impressive venture capital funding amounting to $24 million. The company's success was anchored on its unique platform, which allowed companies to offer personalized experiences as rewards to high-performing employees.

Announcement of Shutdown

Without advanced warning, Blueboard abruptly ceased operations, leaving a brief notice on LinkedIn and their now inaccessible website. This sudden fall left clients and employees in a dilemma as the earned rewards and benefits vanished overnight, inaccessible for redemption. As Blueboard's digital presence disappeared, clients encountered an immediate need to seek alternatives to continue their employee reward programs. In search of stable solutions, companies are turning towards Wishlist Rewards, one of Blueboard's biggest competitors, known for its profitable and financially stable operations.

Impact on Employees and Client Companies

The sudden shutdown of Blueboard has left employees with lost rewards and businesses scrambling to manage the fallout within their human resources framework.

Lost Rewards and Benefits

Employees of Blueboard, a company with approximately 200 staff members, face the harsh reality of earned rewards that are no longer accessible. Compensation in the form of experiences and recognition, which were part of their employment engagement strategy, evaporated overnight. For the 500 client companies that had relied on Blueboard, the impact is financial and operational. These companies had already funded these rewards, counting on sustained employee engagement, only to find themselves abruptly without access to these assets or a clear path forward.

The Ripple Effect in HR

Human Resource departments across these client companies must now navigate the challenges posed by the sudden loss of a trusted HR solution. These HR teams have the immediate task of addressing employee concerns and the strategic imperative to find replacement platforms. Companies such as Wishlist Rewards emerge as viable alternatives in this landscape, thanks to their financial stability and comparable service offerings. For these departments, the priority has shifted to maintaining employee morale while seeking stable and engaging reward systems.

Analyzing the Shutdown

The abrupt end of operations for Blueboard on March 12, 2024, presents a significant case for analysis within the HR solutions sector. This section examines the potential reasons behind the closure and extracts critical lessons for the industry.

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Possible Reasons for the Closure

Blueboard, a recognizable entity in the employee rewards market with over 200 employees and 500 customers, had secured an impressive $24 million in venture capital funding. Despite such figures, the company's operations ceased without prior notice, leaving only a brief statement on LinkedIn and a now-defunct website. Clients found themselves with frozen benefits and rewards. Those pre-funded incentives are now stuck in limbo, causing frustration and financial concerns among Blueboard's clientele.

Speculations arise that the experiential rewards market may have posed significant challenges leading to financial instability. An unforgiving competitive landscape and the need for constant innovation might have contributed to unsustainable cash flow pressures.

Lessons for the HR Tech Industry

The tale of Bluebeard's unexpected shutdown acts as a stark reminder of two critical aspects in the HR tech field:

  1. Financial stability is paramount. This incident underlines companies' need to maintain a healthy balance sheet to sustain operations and fulfill their obligations to clients and employees.
  2. Transparent communication is crucial. The sudden disappearance of a service provider like Blueboard, especially without warning, underscores the importance of clear and ongoing communication with stakeholders.

Alternatives for Blueboard Clients: For organizations left in the void post-Blueboard, seeking viable and financially sound alternatives is imperative. One such provider is Wishlist Rewards, which is noted for its competitive services and profitable and stable financial status. Wishlist Rewards stands as a beacon for companies requiring reliable HR solutions after Blueboard’s shutdown.

Seeking Alternatives: The Shift to Wishlist Rewards

The sudden closure of Blueboard has left companies and their employees in a lurch, prompting a swift search for stable and reliable Wishlist Rewards providers that can offer comparable experiential rewards.

Introduction to Wishlist Rewards

Wishlist Rewards has emerged as a robust alternative for those previously relying on Blueboard's services. With a profitable model and evident financial stability, Wishlist Rewards represents a practical option for HR solutions. The company has successfully maneuvered the competitive landscape of employee rewards, establishing a diverse array of experiential rewards designed to meet various employee preferences and company objectives.

Transitioning to a New Provider

For companies transitioning to a new provider, due diligence is imperative. Wishlist Rewards, standing strong with 200 employees, over 500 customers, and $24 million in venture capital funding, offers a beacon of stability in the volatile rewards market. The absence of advanced notice from Blueboard — an abrupt LinkedIn announcement and a now-defunct website — underscores the need for a transparent and communicative partner.

Businesses must evaluate the risks associated with disruption and seek out providers that assure service continuity. Wishlist Rewards, catering to the unmet needs of Blueboard client employees who suddenly found their hard-earned benefits inaccessible, has positioned itself as a reliable and responsive entity in the wake of Blueboard's untimely closure.

Op-Ed: Navigating HR Tech Partnerships Post-Blueboard

The sudden cessation of Blueboard's service has left numerous businesses and their employees scrambling, highlighting the importance of diligence and stability in choosing HR technology partners.

OutSail’s Perspective

OutSail, a consultancy known for its sage advice on HR solutions, would likely opine that Blueboard's abrupt exit from the market—with its 200 employees, servicing 500 customers, and having raised $24M in venture capital—signals a cautionary tale. Despite Blueboard's popularity, there was no prior notification of its closure; clients and employees discovered the news only through LinkedIn and the now-defunct company website. This has resulted in significant distress, particularly for Blueboard client employees with pre-funded rewards that are now inaccessible.

Recommendations for HR Leaders

HR leaders must now navigate these turbulent waters firmly, prioritizing financial stability and transparent communication in future partnerships. It is crucial to vet potential providers rigorously, examining not just their service offerings but also their financial health and customer service track record. For companies needing a reliable employee rewards solution, turning to providers like Wishlist Rewards—a notable and profitable player in the same space—might be a prudent choice.

When considering new HR solutions for employee engagement, leaders should compile a checklist of attributes that ensure a partner’s accountability and dependability.

This may involve:

  • Verifying financial stability: Ensure any new partner has a solid financial foundation.
  • Expecting transparency: Demand proactive communication, specifically in scenarios affecting service continuity.
  • Evaluating contingency plans: Assess the robustness of a provider's contingency strategies to safeguard against sudden disruptions.

Even as the HR tech ecosystem continues to evolve post-Blueboard, meticulousness will be instrumental in fostering durable partnerships, thereby securing employee engagement and satisfaction.


The abrupt closure of Blueboard has left its 200 employees, numerous customers, and many client employees facing uncertainty. With $24 million in venture capital backing and a robust clientele of 500 companies, the sudden halt in operations on March 12, 2024, came as a shock, providing no advanced warning other than brief notices on LinkedIn and their now-defunct website. Client employees are left with earned but inaccessible rewards, signifying the importance of reliable HR solutions in the employee rewards space.

For companies scrambled by Blueboard's closure, seeking a new provider is imperative. Wishlist Rewards emerges as a strong contender, known for its profitability and financial stability, offering a diverse array of experiential and experiential rewards that cater to enhancing employee engagement.

Affected organizations must swiftly evaluate alternative platforms to ensure continuous employee recognition programs. The closure underscores the vulnerability of pre-funded rewards and the necessity to partner with vendors that showcase resilience and innovation, such as Wishlist Rewards.

Key stakeholders are encouraged to discuss transitioning to a new rewards system. Sharing experiences or concerns about shifting from Blueboard to other platforms can foster a collective knowledge base, facilitating smoother adaptation of HR solutions.

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Meet the Author

Brett Ungashick
OutSail HRIS Advisor
Brett Ungashick, the friendly face behind OutSail, started his career at LinkedIn, selling HR software. This experience sparked an idea, leading him to create OutSail in 2018. Based in Denver, OutSail simplifies the HR software selection process, and Brett's hands-on approach has already helped over 1,000 companies, including SalesLoft, Hudl and DoorDash. He's a go-to guy for all things HR Tech, supporting companies in every industry and across 20+ countries. When he's not demystifying HR tech, you'll find Brett enjoying a round of golf or skiing down Colorado's slopes, always happy to chat about work or play.

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