As I mentioned in my previous post, I'm really looking forward to the 2011 keynote speakers at South by Southwest (SXSW), the week long music, film and interactive festival held each year in Austin, the great town I'm lucky enough to live and work in. I previously mentioned keynote speaker Blake Mycoskie, the founder of TOMS Shoes. Next up on my list of speakers to catch at SXSW is 21-year-old Seth Priebatsch, the 'Chief Ninja' of the Boston startup SCVNGR.
After dropping out of Princeton, Priebatsch created SCVNGR, a social location-based gaming platform for cell phones. The app has a consumer and enterprise component. Companies, educational institutions and other organizations can build challenges, the core unit of the app, on SCVNGR from the web. Users open the app to see the places around their current location that are enterprise clients (current clients include GameStop and The Smithsonian), do the simple challenges to earn points, unlock badges and claim rewards at those clients' businesses, such as 15 percent off their bill.
SCVNGR, backed by Google Ventures, has grown to 60 employees, and plans to hit one million users by year's end. In September, Priebatsch was profiled on the front page of the New York Times business section, and was recently named one of the top five young entrepreneurs to watch by Mashable.
Priebatsch claims that the last decade was all about the social dynamic and connecting people, while the next decade will be all about the game dynamic and its framework. At SXSW, he plans to talk about the idea of making life more exciting by adding a game layer on top of the world. This, in my opinion, is a really interesting concept, and I'm excited to hear more about this idea.