A Detroit startup is jumping on to the trend for gamification, or using game mechanics to increase audience engagement with nongame applications. LevelEleven has raised $1 million in seed funding and is spinning out of a larger company to focus on gamifying the sales process. It’s another example of how game-like systems are spreading into the enterprise.
The company has developed Contest Builder, an app for creating sales contests that motivate employees to complete tasks such as finding new leads, making cold calls, and doing other things that fill up a pipeline with sales and eventually lead to better numbers overall. The software is an app on top of Salesforce.com, said Bob Marsh (pictured), the chief executive of LevelEleven, in an interview with GamesBeat. The app is currently the top gamification app on Salesforce.com’s AppExchange.
“We think we can serve this market better by going out on our own,” said Marsh.
Marsh showed up at the recent Salesforce.com Dreamforce convention in San Francisco as part of ePrize, a loyalty and promotions firm that was recently acquired by Catterton Partners. But now Marsh’s small division has been spun out as LevelEleven to focus on gamifying sales and call centers. That could result in big gains for companies that want salespeople to be more productive.
The Detroit Pistons used the app to gamify its ticket sales. After adopting it, the Pistons saw a 127 percent increase in the number of appointments set per day by its sales people.
LevelEleven will develop new products that provide gamification tools to motivate sales teams and then move on to other business departments. The startup is the latest example of Detroit’s rebirth as a hub for tech innovation. The company is based in Motor City’s innovation center in downtown Detroit.
The company is late to the gamification trend as Bunchball, Big Door, and Badgeville have focused on the gamification market for some time. They offer services that make it easy to turn any activity into something more fun and engaging by adding game-like leaderboards and challenges.
But Marsh said that his company will be laser-focused on addressing the problems of sales, which is unique. The company’s $1 million in funding comes from parent company ePrize and Detroit Venture Partners, which was founded in 2010 by Josh Linkner, Dan Gilbert, and Brian Hermelin and joined in 2011 by former Lakers basketball star Earvin “Magic” Johnson.
Linkner, the CEO and managing partner of Detroit Venture Partners, will join the board. The company also recently hired a new vice president of engineering, Kevin O’Hara, a seasoned Salesforce, cloud-computing, and web developer.
Marsh conceived Contest Builder as an app to motivate ePrize’s own sales team. The company introduced the app at Dreamforce in September 2011 and then continued to refine it over the past year. With it, a sales manager can create a contest and real-time leaderboard (like the one pictured at right) in a matter of minutes. The manager can offer incentives for sales people to make more calls, book more client meetings, find new sales leads, or close more sales.
“For 13 years, brands have relied on ePrize to guide them through evolving online, social, and mobile marketplaces. Gamification and rewarding behavior have been the foundation of our promotions and loyalty technology platforms. We’re proud that the constant innovation coming out of our company is driving Detroit’s economic growth, and this successful incubation and launch of LevelEleven is testament to that,” said Matt Wise, CEO of ePrize.
LevelEleven’s client list includes Comcast, the Detroit Pistons, Concur Technologies, and others. The company has six employees. Its fees vary based on the number of users and start at $5 per user per month.