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Published on July 21st, 2010 | by Babar Bhatti


Mobile Apps for Retail Attract Investment Money

With the rise in popularity of mobile apps with consumers and businesses, the investment levels for mobile technology and applications are going up too. In some cases the money is following the startups. Foursquare is one example where media has paid a lot of attention. What is attracting the attention of investors? The opportunities on the intersection of mobile phones and bricks-and-mortar retailing which will help increase sales. Here are a few examples where investors such as LinkedIn’s founder, Reid Hoffman, are investing in promising mobile apps.

Shopkick, Mr. Hoffman’s third investment at Greylock, taps into the belief that promotions will be more effective if they get to shoppers when they are in a position to buy something.

Founded in June 2009, Shopkick is building applications for the iPhone and devices powered by Google Inc. software that will offer product information or coupons when users check into a store with their cellphones.

The company plans to launch the application this summer and has signed up a number of partners, including Best Buy Co., Macy’s Inc. and Procter & Gamb le Co. Sonny Jandial, brand manager with P&G, said the company is trying to learn how to take advantage of consumers’ obsession with their cellphones.

The enhancement “of the retail experience through your mobile phone is guaranteed to be part of the future,” Mr. Hoffman said.

In May, he led an investment in Swipely, a start-up that is trying to apply social networking to the payment industry. When members make purchases with their credit cards, the transaction is posted on a website that shares the information with their friends. The idea is to turn purchases into conversations about what they bought and where they bought it. The company is also signing up merchants, which can offer coupons to customers.

Sources: WSJ, Entreprenur, MoCo News.

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