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Summary:

The startup SCVNGR is getting one step closer to creating a game layer on top of the world. Tonight it is releasing applications for iPhone and Android that allow users to build geo-targeted challenges for each other to play, just as its customers already do.

The startup SCVNGR (pronounced as if there the missing vowels were still there) is getting one step closer to creating a game layer on top of the world. Tonight it’s releasing applications for iPhone and Android devices that allow users to build geo-targeted challenges for each other to play. So, for instance, if you visit a burrito shop and open your SCVNGR App, you can partake in a challenge to build origami art out of your used tin-foil wrapping. If you capture a picture of your creation with your phone, you’ll receive points for uploading it and maybe even a badge. If you have an idea for a better challenge, you can create it yourself for others to play.

SCVNGR previously only allowed users to play at destinations with challenges created by paying customers. Some 600 clients — among them universities, cities and retailers — pay $10,000-$50,000 per year to operate 25 challenges accessible to SCVNGR users. Now SCVNGR is going for growth. User creators will be able to do everything companies and institutions could do to make new challenges around the 20 million locations loaded in the app, but they won’t have the same analytics and support tools as paying customers.

SCVNGR, which has 44 employees and funding from Google Ventures and Highland Capital Partners, has been cash-flow positive for the last six months. But CEO Seth Priebatsch, who founded the company 18 months ago when he was a freshman at Princeton, said his team screens all participation to make sure it’s as “awesome” as they want SCVNGR to be. “We have turned down a lot of money from people who want to build in ways that aren’t fun,” he said.

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  1. I have used SCVNGR and always thought of them as more Geocaching than Foursquarish

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    1. Cool. Do you use Foursquare too? Would you play SCVNGR and check in on Foursquare at the same location?

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  2. [...] GigaOM ” SCVNGR is going for growth. User creators will be able to do everything companies and institutions could do to make new challenges around the 20 million locations loaded in the app, but they won’t have the same analytics and support tools as paying customers.” [...]

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  3. [...] us out in: TechCrunch, GigaOM, VentureBeat and The New York [...]

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  4. [...] us out in: TechCrunch GigaOM VentureBeat New York [...]

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  5. [...] us out in: TechCrunch GigaOM VentureBeat New York [...]

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  6. [...] service, has tried to differentiate itself from competitors like Foursquare, Booyah and Gowolla by emphasizing real-world challenges that players can do and create when they’re out and about. Now SCVNGR, which is funded by [...]

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  7. [...] bills itself a game layer over the real world, and while it offers familiar features like check-ins and pictures, the core of the service is in [...]

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  8. [...] users soon, competes in the location-based space with Foursquare and others, but it emphasizes real-world games and challenges, which Priebatsch told me are much more engaging than simple check-ins and badges. He said [...]

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