LevelUp arms merchants with white label payment apps
From Ryan Kim, GIGAOM
In the mobile payment race, driving people to transact through one app might not be enough. LevelUp is banking that merchants are interested in having their own branded apps that can still take advantage of LevelUp’s payment and loyalty infrastructure. So it’s creating a white label tool for bigger businesses to integrate LevelUp into their own apps.
Businesses will be able to integrate a new LevelUp SDK in coming months into their existing apps. Or they’ll be able to turn to LevelUp, which can build them a custom app powered by LevelUp in 8-12 weeks.
LevelUp has been signing up businesses including Sweetgreen, a small chain of restaurants in the Washington DC area. Sweetgreen had been looking to join LevelUp’s payment network but wanted to have its own app for users to download.
LevelUp’s chief ninja Seth Prietbatsch said white labeling LevelUp lets businesses with a strong brand or good relationship with their customers strengthen that through their own app instead of diverting them to the LevelUp app. Businesses can still take payments from customers who want to use the existing LevelUp app.
Nokia Announces Windows Phone 8 Version of City Lens App
From Stan Schroeder, Mashable
After coming out of beta last week, Nokia‘s augmented reality app, Nokia City Lens, is due for another update with plenty of new features.
The upcoming Windows Phone 8 version of the app, which will work on Nokia’s Lumia 920 and 820 smartphones, is set to debut 3D icons, as well as the option of filtering search results to only show those in your line of sight.
Some WP8-specific features will also be added to the app, including the ability to pin to start any category, and to customize the menu by adding your favorite searches.
Perhaps most importantly, the app will work in both landscape and portrait modes.
Nokia has yet to comment on the exact release date of its newest version of City Lens.
The New Multi-Screen World: Understanding Cross-Platform Consumer Behavior
Social Network Tagged Raises $15M; Revenue Grew 35 Percent To $43M In 2011
From Leena Rao, TechCrunch
Tagged, a social network for meeting new people, has raised $15 million in growth capital financing from Lighthouse Capital Partners and Comerica Bank. The company previously raised $9 million in funding.
Tagged was on an acquisition tear in 2011, buying hi5, Digsby, TopicMarks and WeGame. These acquisitions expanded the network’s reach to over 300 million members in 220 countries.
The company, which is profitable, says it grew revenue by 35 percent to over $43 million in 2011. And Tagged doubled its staff last year as well.
“The Social Discovery category has just begun its high-growth trajectory,” said Tagged’s CEO Greg Tseng. “While we are profitable and don’t need capital to fund operations, we are also opportunistic and will use these funds to further Tagged’s leadership and innovation in the industry. The growth capital will also enable us to make additional strategic acquisitions, accelerating us toward our next 300 million members.”
LevelUp declares payment war, kills interchange fee for merchants
From Ryan Kim on GIGAOM: Jul. 12, 2012
Every month, it seems players in the mobile payment market try to outdo each other, offering merchants aslightly lower transaction fee in a game of one-upmanship. LevelUp, a Boston-based loyalty and payment startup, has played that game to some extent,pushing down its fee to 2 percent. But now, it’s laying down the gauntlet to competitors by doing away with processing fees forever in what it calls a bid to achieve “Interchange Zero.”
LevelUp said it will not charge its 3,000 merchants interchange fees to process credit card payments and will swallow the cost. The company said instead of passing on interchange fees to move money over existing payment networks, it will look to make its money from merchants by helping them bring in new and existing customers. In essence, LevelUp feels like it can make more money by providing offers, loyalty and analytics than by facilitating pure payments.