Featured Startup Pitch: Loffles—Armed with 500K in seed money, Loffles seeks to bring real legitimacy to online sweepstakes and prize marketing
Founder: Brandon Yoshimura
Headquarters: Providence, Rhode Island
Year Founded: 2010
Company Description (in 140 characters or less): “Loffles is an online giveaway service for consumers that provides advertisers with a new channel for consumer targeting and engagement.”
By Brandon Yoshimura, founder and CEO
Loffles is an online sweepstakes service for consumers that provides advertisers with a new channel for consumer engagement and businesses with a promotion solution that maximizes brand impact.
Consumers register on loffles.com by completing a user profile. This enables Loffles to recommend relevant giveaways while simultaneously capturing data points that allow advertisers to target specific audiences.
To enter a giveaway, a user must first choose a contest from our prize catalogue. After clicking a prize, a user is presented with a 10, 15 or 30-second video ad. After watching the ad and answering a few questions to confirm message reception, the Loffles user is entered into the giveaway drawing.
At Loffles, we noticed something: people like winning stuff. That’s why lotteries and sweepstakes are hugely popular. But online, we couldn’t find a fun site dedicated to providing great prizes. So we decided to change that.
We put lotteries and raffles together to make Loffles: the best online destination for people to win prizes.
Prizes cost money, but we didn’t want to charge our users to enter drawings. So we went to advertisers. They pay a lot of money to have you watch ads. But today, that’s hard to do. People DVR, or jump online, or change the channel whenever ads show up (hey, we do too!). We figured if we could find a way to ensure people paid attention to ads, we would find the money we needed for prizes. People who played would win, advertisers would win, and we would win, too.
So we talked with people, and found out what they wanted. That was easy: they wanted free cool stuff. Next we talked to the advertisers. We found out that they wanted their ads watched by the right people. So we created a system that presented targeted ads to specific demographics and threw in some fun, branded viewer quiz questions to prove to advertisers that the right people were watching.
Then we bought prizes.
That was the fun part. We figured out all the stuff we’d love to give to our friends—TVs, basketball tickets, tech gear, vacations—and just bought it all. Our friends are super busy, so we made Loffles fast and fun to play. Users just pick a prize, watch an ad, answer a few questions, and they’re entered to win. Since our friends are on the move, we made a mobile site, too.
And most importantly, our friends like to play fair, so we found a site that provides the best random generator around for giveaways: www.random.org/randomness.
It was a lot of work, but Loffles is a lot of fun. It’s fun to play, and it’s fun to run!
To date, Loffles has generated more than 2,000 registrants on our landing page (www.loffles.com). These are interested consumers who want to be a part of Loffles when it launches. However, only a select group, less than 100 people, has had the opportunity to explore our beta site (beta.loffles.com). The fully functional Loffles website is launching to the public on June 27th.
We are planning to support our launch with aggressive press outreach, social media initiatives, direct communications to our registered users, and outbound marketing to the greater consumer community.
We are eager to show the tech community that a few students from Rhode Island can compete with the best innovators in the world. We have a simple, clear and compelling value proposition for consumers and advertisers. The prizes are loaded. The ads are set. We’re ready to go.
How Loffles differentiates itself from the competition
The online sweepstakes market is a particularly fragmented space characterized by scams, spam and one-time offerings.
Spam and scams include the increasingly prominent “You are the ‘1,000th visitor—collect your prize!” or “Punch the boxer and win an Ipod!” popups and banner ads. Many of these opportunities lead nowhere or include barriers to entry (e.g. “Sign up for a 5-year subscription to Magazine X to collect your offer!”) which consumers are loath to accept.
One-time offerings include brand-sponsored contents (e.g. the Office Depot “America’s Messiest Office Sweepstakes” in which users could submit a messy office picture online to enter a $10,000 drawing). While these contests have value, they occur randomly, require different entry actions each time, and are difficult for consumers to discover.
Loffles brings a first-of-its-kind approach to the online prize space that allows consumers to find and enter relevant giveaways in a simple fashion. Loffles also provides consumers with a “sweepstakes in their pocket” through its mobile site. The ability for users to enter contests from anywhere at any time is unique to our service and brand. We will benefit by establishing a brand presence in a fractured online market.
Loffles earns revenue from two primary sources: tiered display costs for video advertising and monthly fees for hosting branded sweepstakes.
Ad display prices vary depending on the requested specificity of targeting, number of views, video length, and question detail.
Brands can use the Loffles platform as a sweepstakes solution service as well. Loffles offers video hosting, contest management, metrics, live tracking, and legal indemnification in exchange for a monthly service fee.
Loffles’ current needs
We have raised $500,000 in seed capital and are now looking for the venture money to build our brand. We are seeking an additional $2,000,000 in second round financing in order to expand our sales and technical teams, purchase premium giveaways, and increase our online brand presence.
Loffles – www.loffles.com