How SCVNGR And Founder Seth Priebatsch Hope To Win The Location Game

"We want consumers to have a great time," says SCVNGR founder Seth Priebatsch, "and we also want business to love it enough that they're willing to pay for it."

SCVNGR is a company that takes fun very seriously. Upon entering their office complex in Cambridge, MA, you'll notice quickly that this is no ordinary workplace. The 22-year-old founder, Seth Priebatsch, roams the offices barefoot, his signature orange Oakley sunglasses always perched atop his head. Employees have professional titles like "Executive Rockstar" and "The Instigator." What else would you expect from a company whose mission is to "build the game layer on top of the world?"

Unlike many other products in the mobile location space, SCVNGR launched with a revenue model on day one around brands creating "challenges" for their customers to complete at geographic locations, such as a store or restaurant. While I'm admittedly skeptical about the entire location industry, it's companies like SCVNGR that are starting to change my mind about the revenue potential. Seth Priebatsch dropped out of Princeton after his freshman year to pursue SCVNGR; let's see if he made the right choice.

Last week on Co.Location: SimpleGeo's Pivot From Smartphone Gaming To Location Service Powerhouse

Howard Lindzon is the co-founder and CEO of StockTwits — a social network for traders and investors to share real-time ideas and information. StockTwits was recently named one of the 10 Most Innovative Web Companies in 2011 by Fast Company and one of the 50 Best Websites by Time magazine.

Add New Comment


  • Alex

    Alexa, compete, etc. show their site isn't very popular. 20K unique users? Let's be generous and say that 100% of those are members... I read somewhere that they got $30M investment. So with 20K users, that's $1500 per user. Ouch! I smell another Cuil. They have a couple of sloppy grammatical errors on their site too. Maybe they need a chief grammar ninja.

  • Samuel Campbell II

    , you are the kind of person who's ideas have helped to hold us back.  There is an entire community of savvy young persons who read this and other blogs rather than watch what tv is paid to share with us.  Not to mention the more savvy teens who also are unplugged from standard media sources. So while SCVNGR followed the old paradigm that you espouse, when they advertised before, there is always a tipping point and in the current cyber environment, the catalyst will more than likely be an unconventional method.  Their real mistake is that they advertised using the models that reached their parents generation instead of their generation.  Great thing is that they don't need people like you to be successful.  Give them a moment.  It will catch on and you will have to admit that you are outmoded...

  • Joseph Moore

    Hilarious! I'm SHOCKED that they have attracted the number of corporate businesses that they have. They gave a demonstration to our company a few months back and it was almost a joke, they are getting companies with little social experience to pay them astronomical fees because there is no basis of social knowledge at the company to advise them otherwise.

    Samuel, so how long should we be hanging on, while Foursquare boasts 10 times the registered users?

  • Alice Young

    My opinion is that SCVNGR should be on a deadpool. Traffic scores show it's down 80% from their ad blitz last year, and even that blitz didn't push their user base above my non-advertised, very niche web service. In other words, it's small and not growing y/y, and that's bad news for a company that requires critical mass to survive. Their site list of ninjas and rockstars on their staff looks downright unprofessional. Running ad campaigns that say "we couldn't afford all the letters" doesn't help matters. Just my opinion, but I really doubt this is a going concern.