We said it last week: Pokemon GO is officially a thing.
During these past weeks, it’s been a common sight to see folks of all ages playing the game as you walk through American Tobacco Campus in Durham or Nash Square in downtown Raleigh. Traditional and non-traditional brick-and-mortar businesses are using the game to attract and draw in potential customers.
And now, Cary startup RewardStock has launched a contest that pays avid players of the game to win, hold and defend a Pokemon GO gym close to Raleigh-Durham International Airport, and to boast about it on social media.
RewardStock joins a few other notable startups in leveraging Pokemon GO. Avvo, a Seattle-based legal services startup, is using Pokemon GO lures to attract players to a specific location, with hopes of recruiting new tech talent. Lyft began offering discounts to riders that were traveling to Pokestops in a few select cities. Trulia built a heat map that might just help players find hard-to-catch Pokemon in their city.
And Durham startup SoloPro is offering a discount on its on-demand real estate services when customers take a photo of a Pokemon in front of a home and post it on social media.
The RDU contest was launched on Facebook last week by Jon Hayes, CEO of RewardStock, a travel technology startup with a mission to help individuals better understand, manage and take advantage of credit card rewards programs.
Hayes, who is a frequent traveler and a regular at RDU, wants RewardStock to be identified with travel and fun experiences, and to be associated locally with the RDU Airport. One day, says Hayes, he wants everyone in the Triangle to think of RewardStock as RDU’s travel startup (he, and the rest of the company, already do).
“We want to be top of mind for everything RDU airport-related,” says Hayes, “including its Pokemon GO gyms.”
The contest, which pays out $200 to Pokemon GO players who compile the most points between July 20 and July 31 (more rules here), is a lighthearted way to have fun playing Pokemon GO but also a test to see if this type of competition is a good way to spread the word about the year-old company, which raised seed funds last October and launched earlier this year.
“The fun part of startup life is that you are constantly trying new things,” says Hayes, “so this is just another thing we’re trying.”
Earlier this week, two teams were battling back and forth to control the Pokemon GO gym, says Hayes. But the current leader has accumulated just two points, so it’s still anyone’s game.
Will the Pokemon GO phenomenon last forever? “Probably not,” says Hayes. “It’s a new experience and has some fun augmented reality features.”
But if you’ve never played, Hayes recommends giving it a try—it’s a fun game and it encourages folks to get outside.
Plus, you could win $200 courtesy of RewardStock.