July 19, 2012 in ATDC News

Startup Chronicles: Badgy

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Badgy At a Glance

When it comes to business pitches, Rob Kischuk scored quite the touchdown earlier this year.

The founder and CEO of Badgy, a social achievement platform targeting digital marketers and consumer brands, Kischuk had just finished up a grueling series of nationwide demo days after graduating from Georgia Tech’s Flashpoint inaugural accelerator program. As a reward for a job well done, Kischuk’s family sent him to the Super Bowl in Indianapolis. His goal? Watch some football and make a few connections. Consider that mission accomplished.

While attending a viewing party for the reality show “Shark Tank,” Kischuk crossed paths with famed entrepreneur and Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban. Six months later, the ATDC member company has raised $600,000 in a seed round led by Cuban.

“I asked for his thoughts on my business and we realized it was very complementary to some of the other things he was invested in,” said Kischuk. “It took a few more months of aligning the vision to get to where we are now.”

Badgy provides search engine optimization services for social marketing efforts, ultimately helping customers find new and interesting ways to engage users via social channels. The startup uses gaming principles – specifically, a loyalty program – to increase engagement and conversion of fans on Twitter and Facebook. For example, marketers on Facebook or Twitter can use the platform to easily reward their fans with badges or other prizes for liking, commenting, sharing, subscribing or engaging with a brand online.

From East Atlanta Beer Fest to Atlanta’s Foursquare Day, Badgy has been used at many local events as a way to increase engagement. The company recently worked with Quilted Northern toilet paper, offering social media users a year’s worth of toilet paper as a reward. The result was a 700 percent growth over the course of 10 weeks, said Kischuk. The roots of Badgy were formed one year ago, stemming from his experience building social games and working with a white label CRM company.

“I learned about the motivation and challenges in engaging, growing and motivating fans,” said Kischuk. “I knew there were all of these great social gaming tools out there, but most were too complicated and involved for the marketer to build into a campaign. So I wanted to find ways to create best practices and put them into the hands of companies.”

The funding – which also includes investments from Startup Riot founder Sanjay Parek, as well as previous money from local angel Sig Mosley in conjunction with the Flashpoint Investment Fund – will go toward product and staff development, said Kischuk. In addition, it will help fund the company’s efforts to move from an enterprise model to a self-serve option, making social loyalty accessible to a large audience.

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