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Location-based gaming startup SCVNGR , which recently closed a $15 million funding round, is entering new territory: it’s launching a spinoff service called LevelUp, which goes live today in pilot cities Boston and Philadelphia. And it’s taking on some big names, including the likes of Groupon and LivingSocial (in addition to the location-based services it already competes with, like Foursquare). The goal of LevelUp, says SCVNGR CEO Seth Priebatsch, is to offer the immediate distribution and new customers afforded by the daily deal sites, while simultaneously maintaining the long-term engagement that location-based games are usually better at. Priebatsch says that the big deal sites will often lead to a “one-and-doner” phenomenon, where businesses attract a flood of new customers eager to get in on a deal, and then watch as those customers never come back. LevelUp wants to fix that. The service is pretty simple.
Los Angeles startup TreatFeed just launched a new spin on the crossover between social networking and e-commerce — it wants to reward users for their social recommendations with prizes and cash. Scott Roback, the company’s senior vice president of strategy and business development, said that where companies like Facebook are trying to build a social graph, TreatFeed is trying to create “the commerce graph, or the monetization layer of the social graph.” Here’s how it works: TreatFeed aggregates deals from across the Web. Users come to the site for the deals, then ask their friends and family to join too. When users find deals they like, they can recommend them to their connections on the site.
Daily deals juggernaut Groupon has just launched Groupon Now , a spinoff service which looks to break its traditional deal-a-day model and offer real-time deals based simply on the user’s location. Revealed in March, the service works both through the web and its location-aware iPhone and Android mobile applications. Irrespective of the time of the day and their location, users can use either component to find deals, which have time-restrictions set by the businesses that offer it, in their vicinity. The service is currently only active in Groupon-headquartered Chicago, but will soon be expanding to other cities around the United States and the world.
Scoutmob , a location-based group deals company, plans to announce tomorrow that it has secured a first round of funding for $1.5 million, according to New Atlantic Ventures representatives, who led the funding. The new funding will be used to roll out its deal service to new cities, continue development and hire more employees. The company appears to be an interesting mix of a group buying site, like Groupon or LivingSocial, and location-based deal service, like Foursquare or Facebook Places. Users can visit the company’s website and agree to receive email notifications for deals, or download the iPhone or Android applications.