SCVNGR, Battling Foursquare and Others, Looks to Stay “On Top of the World” After Facebook Fallout
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is “half baked.” Still—and this is probably more important in the long run—most people familiar with the company agree that SCVNGR has a strong business model (especially the part involving corporations and universities), has a good revenue stream, and is well funded. What’s more, it will learn from all this feedback. Bottom line: the startup is not going away anytime soon, and it has plenty of time to evolve into something bigger and more successful, as it figures out how to get more people to build on its platform and play its games.
“It could be a tremendous company. For every metric that I had, they’ve been exceeding performance,” says Rich Miner, a partner at Google Ventures, an investor in SCVNGR. As for how the company will retain its competitive edge in the coming months, he says, “I challenge anyone to try to keep up with Seth.”
For his part, Priebatsch says the keys to SCVNGR’s long-term success are to “increase the quality of the experience for institutions, cities, and businesses,” to provide “unique content in a fun game,” to boost “engagement and fun,” and, of course, to increase his customers’ sales.
All of this talk about building a game layer on top of the world made me wonder what the sector might look like in 10 years. Neither Priebatsch nor Miner would venture any specifics. But Priebatsch says offerings like SCVNGR, which tie into local companies and organizations, “will be a hell of a lot more sophisticated and pervasive. It’ll be consistent and unique at each business.”
Despite his youthful enthusiasm, it’s easy to forget that Priebatsch is only 21. He left Princeton University after his freshman year and says he has no plans to go back. He also notes that he walked into his first bar only a few weeks ago. “It was a sales call, and it was successful,” he says.
So, given the realities of today’s mobile market—where a company can only hope to have up to a six-month lead in technology—what makes SCVNGR think it can stay ahead of the pack of companies, sure to emerge, that are all trying to build mobile game layers on top of location?
“Because what’s next is even cooler,” Priebatsch says. “But I can’t tell you.”