Where it's based: Palo Alto, Calif.
When it was founded: 2009
Why it's Fierce: Location-based shopping provider shopkick awards users for visiting its partner stores and checking out various promotions. Users install the shopkick app and automatically "check-in" to retail locations when their phone's microphone picks up an inaudible audio signal, unique to each store, emitted by a speaker in the store. Users receive varying amounts of "kickbucks" for each of these transactions, which can, in turn, be redeemed for gift certificates to participating stores, restaurants or donated to charity. Shopkick does not charge retailers to participate in its program--rather, stores pay shopkick a flat fee for each person it brings to one of the stores.
Prior to launching, shopkick raised over $20 million in pre-launch funding in Series A and B investments led by Kleiner Perkins. Even without the addition of Crate & Barrel, its newest partner as of last week, shopkick will have a presence in over 250,000 stores and 39 states nationwide. Within its first six months, shopkick's user base blossomed to over 1 million and included retail partners including Best Buy, Macy's, Target, American Eagle and Wet Seal.
Despite only being founded in 2009, shopkick has already been named one of The Wall Street Journal's Top 10 Apps of 2010 and one of the World's Top 10 Companies in Retail by Fast Company, alongside the likes of Apple and Amazon.com. Sports Authority CMO Jeffrey Schumacher reported an increase of 50 percent to 70 percent in shoppers after increasing its shopkick rewards. Around 25 people currently work at shopkick.
What's next: Co-founder and CEO Cyriac Roeding said shopkick's main goals for the rest of 2011 revolve around forging new partnerships and expanding the number of participating stores within existing partnerships like Simon Malls, the largest U.S. mall operator. In a span of eight months, the app grew from being available in four markets last August to 80 markets eight months later.