Featured Startup Pitch: Badgeville is leading the enterprise gamification surge with its social engagement platform
Founders: Kris Duggan, CEO, and Wedge Martin, CTO
Headquarters: Menlo Park, California
Year Founded: September, 2010
Investors: Norwest Venture Partners, El Dorado Ventures, Trinity Ventures
By Kris Duggan, co-founder and CEO
When customers walk into Badgeville headquarters today, they find it hard to believe that our company launched just over a year ago. In 2010, I decided to launch a company, along with my co-founder Wedge Martin, that would help businesses measure and influence user behavior. After talking to many of my friends and acquaintances across the enterprise, it became increasingly clear that there was a huge opportunity to combine game mechanics and sophisticated behavior analytics to increase serious business objectives.
While “gamification” has made its way to one of the top trends of 2012, when Badgeville launched few had heard of the term. The handful of companies trying to sell game-based programs to marketers were hocking Flash-based games that at best provided only short-term value to the business. Badgeville is the first and only company to approach gamification as a holistic, fully-integrated business strategy that ties into a brand’s entire digital footprint.
A Great Start: Winning Audience Choice at TechCrunch Disrupt
When Badgeville launched at TechCrunch Disrupt in 2010, we already had a handful of beta customers and significant revenues for a pre-launch company. The team, just five of us at the time, didn’t know what to expect exactly. Even though I knew the company was solid, one can never be sure what judges and the masses will think. We were very fortunate to win Audience Choice at the show, and more importantly, to obtain a large amount of press resulting in hundreds of qualified leads.
One of the biggest challenges in launching a startup is guessing what demand will be. You can make intelligent estimates, but ultimately the sheer volume of interest for an innovative market may come as a surprise, for better or worse. For us, it was a good problem to have, and we quickly scaled to support the demand, adding 50 employees over one year and $15 million in funding.
When growing a team to support demand, it’s important to hire the right people, and not rush into any hires. I am very fortunate to have been able to put together a world-class team of experts from social gaming, loyalty, social media, and enterprise software, who together have built the world’s most widely-deployed gamification platform for the enterprise. With a dream team of employees who previously worked with Zynga, Playdom, WebEx, Amazon, American Express, Salesforce.com and other well-recognized brands, Badgeville was able to reach and exceed significant milestones from day one.
Bringing Gamification to Businesses Today
Today, Badgeville is enabling hundreds of companies to measure and influence their customer and employee behavior. Instead of businesses sitting on the sidelines and observing user behavior, Badgeville’s Behavior Platform now helps businesses create sophisticated programs to actually drive user behavior. Our customers are currently experiencing increases in key business objectives 20 percent to more than 200 percent.
Badgeville Customer Gamification Examples:
Samsung Nation (www.samsung.com)
Universal Music (www.scottymcreery-official.com)
Beat the GMAT (www.beatthegmat.com)
Everyday Health (www.jillianmichaels.com)
Janrain / Shop with your Friends (www.shopwithyourfriends.com)
In addition to smart gamification programs, Badgeville offers a unique product that turns any site into a social network. This product democratizes the power of Facebook, and infuses real-time, social experiences into any brand. Instead of sending fans to a Facebook or Twitter page, the Behavior Graph allows for an internal increase in user-driven activities, and for businesses to own their audience data. For serious businesses, this translates to an increase in user-generated content, customer referrals, time spent on the site and paid conversions.
Badgeville’s Behavior Lifecycle Management product suite includes powerful solutions such as The Dynamic Game Engine, Widget Studio & API, and Behavior Analytics, making it easy for businesses to easily incorporate gamification across their entire online experience. Recently, Badgeville announced its Cloud Connectors Program, offering easy integration into popular third-party enterprise applications such as JIVE, Omniture and Salesforce.com. We also have begun to announce a series of strategic partnerships with truly world-class social enterprise companies such as Bazaarvoice.
Badgeville’s Dynamic Game Engine (DGE) is recognized for its flexibility, power and scalability to track and reward any user behavior. It supports storing and surfacing of massive quantities of user behavior data, since we use a modern technology known as horizontal sharding for our databases.
What Businesses Must Know About Gamification
Before you jump into gamification, start by deciding on your key business objectives. Is a five percent increase in conversions going to add a significant amount of revenue for your business? Do you need to increase time on site 100 percent in order to see real value in your gamification program? Then, determine which behaviors help you achieve these objectives. Finally, deploy a program which is designed to increase these behaviors, track your success, and iterate to improve your results.
While we provide world-class technology, ultimately we also recognize that the success of your gamification program is largely due to its program design and your user experience. That is why we focus so heavily on our production team, client services and support, and providing turnkey frameworks for virtually every industry. Our frameworks offer competitive, collaborative, and solo gamification and reputation experiences that are supported with their own unique set of widgets and program design models. These enable our customers to design scalable, sustainable programs that have benefited by best practices and our learnings from our entire client base.
Badgeville in 2012—and beyond
Since its inception in 2010, Badgeville has risen to the top of the gamification industry and has fast become the gold standard for measuring and influencing consumer and employee behavior. With over 100 customers from around the globe, including some of the largest F1000 enterprises, we are by far the most widely deployed gamification platform.
According to Constellation Research, Inc. Principal Analyst and CEO Ray Wang, by 2013, “more than 50 percent of all social business initiatives will include an enterprise gamification concept.” For Badgeville, this means a sizable increase in customers looking to experience an increase in user behavior, paid conversions, social sharing and user generated content. We experience this first hand every day in the calls we receive from new businesses looking to add smart gamification programs to their user experiences.
Badgeville – www.badgeville.com