“For the user it’s a super fun, free experience, go out and win stuff. For advertisers, marketers, brands, it’s an awesome way to engage people with relevant technology and drive them where you want.”
At the risk of sounding like Blackbeard, I have news for you: there are treasure chests everywhere. Yes, that includes Utah, though our state has never been known for pirates or buried treasure, excluding Overstock’s gold. If you pay close attention, you can see these treasure chests in the most unlikely places. There’s one nestled high above Bridal Veil Falls, frozen and serene in its postcard stillness. There’s others around the point of the mountain, untarnished by the pollution and angry drivers that screech past. There has even been reports of treasure chest sightings at Larry H. Miller dealerships throughout the state, what is even going on?
By now, you’ve come to one of two conclusions. One, I took LSD and started writing an article for Beehive Startups that will surely end in my professional demise. Or two, an augmented reality, location-based treasure hunting app has been created and released within Utah that rewards users with real prizes, similar to Pokemon Go but with the chance to win actual things instead of goofy digital beings.
Welcome to the world of Seek.
“There is no inherent value gained from playing Pokemon Go,” said Jon Cheney, founder of Seek. “You catch digital creatures and then you’re done. We’re basically going to get rid of the Pokemon, bring in treasure chests, and add rewards. You go out and capture treasure chests, when you open it up you have a randomized chance of winning something.”
Seek began as a physical treasure hunt, attracting people to come out and search for prizes like a bunch of modernized Blackbeards. Looking to capitalize on the interest and maximize their ability to grow, the Seek team began exploring avenues to make this happen.
“We thought we can do this bigger and better and faster with an app,” Cheney said. “We started down that pathway, did a couple of whiteboard sessions, and then a couple weeks later, boom, Pokemon Go hits the world.”
As the Pokemon Go craze overtook humanity and Utahns began congregating outside Provo Library like a bunch of chocolate milk-guzzling, paparazzi lunatics, Seek began transferring their idea of a physical treasure hunt into the world of augmented reality. They beta-tested with 1,000 users to rave reviews and are now officially launching with a recipe they believe is built for success.
Here’s how it works. I hop on my phone, download the app, and now the adventure begins. Treasure chests have been placed throughout the world that I can capture with my camera, requiring me to venture to the physical location and capture them digitally. Unlike Pokemon Go, capturing treasure chests can have tangible value — $1,000 here, a big screen television there, a Goalzero kit everywhere. Seek is also forming partnerships with multiple businesses that allows them to engage with consumers and draw more people to their location.
“We give businesses the ability to drop a treasure chest right outside their store, put whatever they want inside it, and attract customers to come open it,” Cheney said.
Whereas Pokemon Go’s user base initially skyrocketed, then dwindled into just remaining diehards, Seek believes that they will be able to continue to engage users because of these actual rewards. You can only capture Pikachu so many times before that loses its luster, but capturing treasure chests that contain rewards, cash, and items/discounts from various companies? That should continue to attract users.
And from the business side of things, Seek can provide companies with valuable information that can then be used to help direct their marketing approach.
“We know the gender, age, and interests of all the people that are using our app,” Cheney said. “With that information we can say to Scheels, you had 185 people come and open your chest today, here’s who they are. Not specifically because we can’t share that data, but we can share demographics. You had this many males and females, here’s your age distribution, here’s what they were interested in. Now Scheels is starting to understand who’s coming to their store and what type of stuff they should put in this marketing tool.”
You don’t have to sail the high seas to find treasure. With Seek’s launch treasure is now everywhere, it’s just a matter of downloading the app and setting out on an adventure. Who knows, you might even win a sweet camera….
“For the user it’s a super fun, free experience, go out and win stuff,” Cheney said. “For advertisers, marketers, brands, it’s an awesome way to engage people with relevant technology and drive them where you want.”
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