Larry Rubin brings the ease of cards to business relationships
By Susie Davidson
Three years ago, entrepreneur Larry Rubin saw the proverbial, paperless handwriting on the wall. Today, his Swipe-It Technology has become an industry leader in the drive toward quicker and more expedient consumer tracking as well as benefit allocation.
With an individual approach geared to varied businesses and clientele, Rubin designed a system with easy-to-carry and quick-to-slide customer loyalty and gift cards, which are advantageous to both retailer and patron.
In both economically challenged and boom times, small to mid-sized merchants are highly indebted to their customers. Rubin, a 29-year-old Sharon native, has long sensed that both loyalty and consumer data were integral to these business relationships. However, he began his business career with students’ daily needs in mind. After graduating from college with a bachelor’s degree in Sport Management, Rubin secured a small bank loan and help from family and friends, and in 1998, launched Swipe It Meal Card, an off-campus meal program based in the Chestnut Hill area which streamlined the meal-paying process for local college students.
“After a few years of breaking even, I found another company doing the same thing in Maryland and decided to merge with them,” he recalled. From a small concern with two employees, the company, now called University Meal Deal, expanded to markets in Boston, Ithaca, New York, College Park, Maryland and Greenville.
“At about this same time large companies were switching from paper gift certificates to plastic gift cards,” said Rubin. Since he had already been utilizing that model, he decided to start a sister company, Swipe It Technology, which would bring the technology that larger companies such as Best Buy, Home Depot and The Gap were using to small and medium-sized merchants. This year, Rubin was able to buy out his existing partners. With over 100 clients in 20 states, he now runs University Meal Deal, which posted revenue of over a million dollars last year, and the ever-expanding Swipe It Technology.
Rubin attended Hebrew School at Temple Sinai of Sharon, where he was a Bar Mitzvah in 1987. His father Steven’s parents were of Russian origin, his mother Harriet (Levine)’s were Polish. The family spent every Friday night at Rubin’s grandmother’s house in Quincy, enjoying matzah ball soup, chicken and challah as they discussed how their week went. “Due to the large Jewish population of Sharon, my formidable years were molded by Jewish values and morals,” he said.
For 10 years, from age eight to eighteen, Rubin spent seven years as a camper and three as a staff member at Camp Avoda in Middleboro. As a member of its Alumni Association, he helps raise money to send underprivileged boys to the camp. “Many of my friends from camp also joined me when I went off to college at UMass Amherst,” he said. The camaraderie led to a four-year membership in the national, predominately Jewish Sigma Alpha Mu fraternity, where he held positions on the Executive Board.
Rubin joined Jewish Big Brother and Big Sister a year ago, and looks forward to continuing his relationship with his “little brother” as well as one with his girlfriend of seven months, whom he met on Jdate.com.
“I am very proud of my Jewish heritage and always do what I can for fellow Jews,” he said. “That about sums up my life and I look forward to adding many more chapters in the future.”
For more information, please visit www.swipeit.com.