Mobile local promotion and wallet services that marry offers to linked credit card accounts and track usage are proliferating. A partial roster of players includes Plum Rewards, MyFavEats, RewardLoop, AirPay and PunchCard. They’re all fighting for a share of smartphone users in a given community.
Why not just focus on college towns, which have a much higher percentage of smartphone dependent users? That’s the strategy behind Moocho, a self-funded company launched by a team that includes StubHub and Versity vets.
The company has initially launched for seven college towns, including Colorado State, Ohio State, Pittsburgh, UC Berkeley, Virginia, Wisconsin and West Virginia U. Students typically get $1, $2, or $5 off to try a place, and then loyalty points. All activity is tracked for loyalty and engagement. Parents can opt to have their credit cards linked and pay directly (and also limit purchase categories, such as alcohol).
With 22 million college students, each spending $3k a year, the college market is huge. It also “lends itself to mobile payment app better than any other vertical or national play,” says CEO Matthew Levenson. The company is seeking to get the top establishments in each market. “It won’t really work if students just use this in a few places that aren’t very relevant,” he says.
To get there, Moocho is hiring local sales vets from established local media, such as Pennysaver. “We are hiring full time pros, not students,” says Levenson. “It is a very different commerce play; we need a very high batting average.” Given that these are relatively small markets, “we can’t churn and burn them.”