Inside SCVNGR: My tour of one of the hottest mobile apps in higher ed
On a recent trip to Boston I had a unique opportunity to learn about one of the fastest growing mobile apps for the iPhone and Android: SCVNGR. In just under 9 months, SCVNGR has seen some pretty impressive growth, reaching 1,000,000 registered users in late February and partnering with too many companies and institutions to name.
My gracious host, Jeffrey Kirchick, invited me to come by the SCVNGR offices after I tweeted that I’d be visiting Boston within the next few days. I gladly accepted the invitation, not really knowing a lot about the company. Boy was I in for a surprise.
I arrived at the SCVNGR offices in Cambridge around 5pm on a Thursday and saw a bustling, energetic group of folks – most of whom weren’t even close to packing up and heading home for the day. This place was just how I imagined an internet startup would be: modern workspaces, young faces, white boards galore filled with numbered lists, and of course, an espresso machine. I even got a peek inside what they call the War Room, though I wonder if any of them have seen Dr. Strangelove and really know what that reference means.
After a brief tour of the spaces, Jeff and I sat down to discuss the exciting things that SCVNGR is doing in higher education. Partnering with universities and colleges, SCVNGR is able to help schools create an unforgettable mobile experience for new students, which, in turn helps forge a more positive initial impression for a lasting relationship between the student and the institution.
What I liked most about SCVNGR is that they are carefully positioning themselves, not as a foursquare competitor (as you might expect), but instead working to carve out their own niche in mobile gaming. In a couple of my previous posts (here and here), I’ve been pretty up front about my disappointment with foursquare. It was great to see SCVNGR taking a new approach, and I think they’re seeing the results of making their app less about the check-in and more about the shared experience. They’re also aggressively seeking corporate and education partners to help them get to the next level.
All in all, I think SCVNGR is a company poised for more exponential growth in 2011. Backed by Google Ventures, they secured an additional $15M in funding early this year and they’re getting lots of attention in the mobile app world.
Thanks again to Jeff for showing me around and introducing me to a great new mobile platform. I’ll be watching in the coming months to see how things progress.
What are your thoughts on mobile gaming and the future of SCVNGR?