I recently had an interview with SCVNGR Business Development Executive, John Valentine, on the future of location-based services and social gaming like SCVNGR. The $115 million company sets sights on becoming a global leader in social gaming and has new developments in trying to crack the science of brand/product loyalty. SCVNGR has landed major stories on TechCrunch, The Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, and even on the front page of CNN.com. It is an up and coming platform with huge potential.
What is it?: SCVNGR is a location-based service that works on a gaming platform (yep, much like a scavenger hunt).
“We are trying to build a game layer on top of the world,” said Valentine. Currently more than Over 13,000 treks have been built by institutions, brands, and people on SCVNGR with 1.25 million people having played an actual SCVNGR game. CEO of SCVNGR, Seth Priebatsch has spoken many times about his idea of a game layer world and on providing incentives for people to develop loyalty.
SCVNGR’s success is not yet at the level of Foursquare, with 8 million users worldwide, but the potential is certainly there. “We are looking for the secret sauce to build a billion dollar company.” The primary organizations taking part in the development of SCVNGR treks (games) are universities, event planners, and tourism destinations looking to create a unique experience for their audience.
At the completion of a trek users are often provided with a reward whether it’s an actual prize or points. Valentine added, “there are plenty of people who use Foursquare and SCVNGR concurrently, and others that pick up SCVNGR only when they are in a rewards location.”
What’s Next for SCVNGR?
SCVNGR recently launched a new platform called, LevelUp in Philadelphia and Boston. This component works similar to Groupon, however it has some key differentiators including, of course, a game layer. “Expect a combination of location-based social media, loyalty, and a payment platform,” said Valentine. LevelUp’s primary purpose is to turn the huge influx of people from a ‘daily deal’ into returning customers by allowing them to unlock levels. LevelUp aims to see if this incentive alone will encourage people to return visit and share their experience with friends. So far, the pilot program has been a success including increasing loyalty faster and making experiences more viral on social sites like Facebook and Twitter. Check out LevelUp Case Studies for more info.
The company founded in 2008 currently have more than 70 employees with plenty of hiring happening. “SCVNGR tries to innovate every three months or so,” said Valentine. With teams in place to target users on social media sites and reach out to people by speaking at conferences, SCVNGR is a platform to look out for in the future. Keep a look out for this new for of social media and for you to get in on the game layer.
SCVNGR For Business
SCVNGR has been used at dozens of universities and tourism destinations to increase visitation to lesser known areas and reward people for frequent visitation or a trek completion. It has also been used at conferences to encourage various booth participation. I participated in one and it was actually quite fun. Treks can be designed to require users to send in photos, quotes, or quiz answers all allow businesses to receive plenty of user-generated content.
Many thanks to John Valentine for taking the time to talk to me.