Six months ago I wrote about a startup called Shopkick (it was then called MOBshop). The company won’t disclose much of what their eventual product will be, but they’ve attracted some of the most high profile investors in Silicon Valley: Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers and Reid Hoffman.
Here’s what CEO Cyriac Roeding will say about Shopkick which is scheduled to launch in 2010: they aim to bridge the gap between the mobile phone and the physical shopping worlds.
In the meantime they are launching CauseWorld, “the first mobile application that let’s you do good deeds simply for walking into a store.” The application should be available on the iPhone appstore later today. Android is coming soon, along with more mobile platforms.
CauseWorld app users earn “karma points” when they walk into stores and check in with their cell phone. No purchase is required at any store, and karma points can be redeemed nine predefined good causes. Big brands like Kraft Foods and Citi (both are on board) then turn the karmas into real dollar donations to those causes. Food for poor families, water in Sudan, trees in the Amazon, etc. are examples of the causes.
Here’s how it works: Like foursquare and gowalla, you open the application on your phone and see local businesses (instead of showing everything around you, CauseWorld only shows businesses that you can check into for karmas). Enter the store, check in, and get the karma points offered to you. Once you’ve collected enough karmas you can donate them to a variety of causes. And, of course, you get badges for various activities.