Mobile

Local Hero: Seth Priebatsch, Scvngr

Company: Scvngr
Location: Boston
Founded: June 2008
Founder: Seth Priebatsch
Funding: $4.8 million
Employees: 50Scvngr founder Seth Priebatsch — who prefers the title “chief ninja” to “CEO” — took the idea of checking in to a location to the next level and turned it into a game. We caught up with Priebatsch to talk more about Scvngr’s popularity: It recently reached more than 500,000 users and is still growing fast.

Why did you start the company?
My vision was to build a game layer on top of the world and give people an experience outside of their usual lives. People are motivated by virtual games played on a computer or the Xbox. We want to take that motivation and transition it to the real world. We now have a functioning game in the physical world that fits into everyone’s daily lives and anyone can play. We want people to take a few seconds every day to check in and play.

What’s the coolest place you checked into recently?
I recently made a trip to the top of Mount Washington. While I was at the research station, I decided to check in and complete one of the default challenges on Scvngr, snapping a picture. I also had the opportunity to complete another challenge, the social check-in, with four of my friends who happened to be with me on the top of the mountain. That was pretty cool.

When did you realize it was working?
A couple months ago, I logged onto Facebook and saw a post from someone on my wall. I didn’t really know the guy, but there was a comment on my recent check-in update. The person said “Oh hey, you use Scvngr, too. I love it!” He didn’t know I was the founder of Scvngr. It was eye-opening to have an almost complete stranger tell me that he loved the game.

What’s next for the location-based industry and services?
The next phase of location-based anything is about stories and experiences, rather than just a check-in. It’s about showing what happens during a period of time. For example, doing a challenge at a location like taking a picture tells a specific story that can then be shared with others.

Where are you checking in next?
I’ll be checking in to Boston Paintball. We issued a proclamation that Scvngr owns the startup world in Boston and challenged all startups to the ultimate paintball match. So far, we have had inbound-marketing company Hubspot answer the call. We’ll let you know who wins!

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