Written by Malia Spencer of the Pittsburgh Business Times. Originally published on February 21st, 2013 at 12:31pm EST. See original story here.
Over the weekend the Pittsburgh Penguinsunveiled PensPoints, a new fan loyalty program that rewards people for going to games, listening to games on the radio, buying stuff and other actions. It’s all run through users’ smartphones and uses QR and other codes.
If this type of smartphone-based, QR scanning loyalty program sounds familiar it should. The program is latest product offering from Strip District-based LoyalTree, a startup we first wrote about back in 2011. (The company is officially called Cardeeo but it’s known by itsLoyalTree brand.)
The PenPoints program is a white-label offering of LoyalTree’s platform, said CEOBrock Bergman. It’s one of three ways the product is now reaching the market he said. The company has its branded LoyalTree network as well as an API integration that allows the platform to become part of a customer’s existing app, he said.
The company now has more than 500 merchants in its network and 50,000 people using the app. The company’s clients are everything from retail shops, to yoga studios to restaurants, Bergman said, and it’s branched out beyond the Pittsburgh region with customers nationwide.
Bergman said the company is looking at doing more work with sports teams and is using the partnership with the Pens to prove some metrics.
At Wednesday’s game against the Flyers PensPoints QR codes could be found around the Consol Energy Center at various vendors and within IceTime magazine.
As the company has developed, it’s now up to 10 employees, the product has evolved as well. Bergman said its easier on the merchant side and is 100 percent automated making it easier for a customer’s staff to integrate the loyalty program into daily routines.
The company is expected to make a few key hires in the next couple months as well as some product upgrades.
“Depending on the growth path and the development growth we may or may not raise money (this year),” he said. “It’s something I am not ruling out.”
If he does go down the fundraising path, he knows it will be challenging and most of his early conversations have been with people that are out of the region.
“It’s not by choice but necessity,” he said. “But I am incredibly committed to trying to do it here.”
LoyalTree isn’t the first local tech company to get a boost from the Pens. South Side-based YinzCam started in 2009 with a pilot project with the Pens and has grown to include 40 professional teams across the NFL, NHL and NBA and its apps have more than 6 million downloads.