SCVNGR Turns Life Into One Big Mobile Location-Based Scavenger Hunt

May 23, 2010

4:59 pm

We all recall doing classic scavenger hunts growing up. Now, Boston-based SCVNGR is a startup that makes it easy to create a scavenger hunt from a simple mobile device. SCVNGR is the brainchild of Seth Priebatsch, a 21-year-old who founded the company while a freshman at Princeton University in 2008. We last caught up with the team in Boston as a showcased startup at our 2009 Boston TECH cocktail startup mixer event and since then SCVNGR has been busy as they raised $4 million from Google Ventures and Highland Capital Partners. They also focused on distribution in the enterprise space by locking down over 600 institutions including; Harvard, Princeton, MIT, the Smithsonian, the National Zoo, the City of Boston, the City of Philadelphia, SIGGRAPH and even the U.S. Navy. But until now you could only play SCVNGR at places that had already built on SCVNGR. That was a lot of places, but not everywhere. This past week at the Google I/O conference SCVNGR rolled into the consumer market offering anyone the ability to leverage the powerful location-based mobile gaming engine. So now you can play SCVNGR anywhere! The result is a unique real-world gaming experience.

Never played SCVNGR? Well, now you can as they have launched a new SCVNGR app and it is available for free in both the Apple App Store and the Android Market. SCVNGR is a game about going places, doing challenges and earning points. SCVNGR places a premium on active, engaged user “challenges” (worth from 2-5 points) as opposed to the still-fun, but more-passive, “check-ins” (worth only 1 point).

Scvngr-iPhone-app

Scvngr iPhone App

For example, you might visit a cupcake shop and open up the SCVNGR app where you are shown a list of challenges. One challenge might ask you to snap a pic of a red velvet cupcake to receive a couple points. Another challenge might be to solve some location-based riddle that the owners of the shop have added. A third could be to create an interesting piece of artwork with your cupcake wrapper and snap a photo of your creation for three points.  These types of challenges exist everywhere and the average challenge takes less than six seconds.

Challenges are added by the locations themselves or by frequent visitors who’ve unlocked the ability to add their own challenges to that spot. At the time of their consumer launch, over 20 million locations are playable within SCVNGR. So basically your entire life could turn into one big, never ending, scavenger hunt. This could be the next big thing – game on!

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Frank Gruber is the cofounder, CEO and Executive Editor of Tech.Co (formerly Tech Cocktail). He is the author of the book, Startup Mixology, Tech Cocktail’s Guide to Building, Growing, and Celebrating Startup Success. He is also a startup advisor and investor to startups.

Find Frank Gruber online and follow him on Twitter at @FrankGruber.

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