Increasingly, there are apps that let you leave messages, photos, and videos for friends in real places. Now you can leave money as well. Many startups are already adding rewards to check-ins, but social payments startup Venmo is tying check-ins to real money with a new iPhone app called Gifi that is launching today at TC Disrupt.
Venmo is a way to text real money to your friends and broadcast those payments on social networks like Facebook and Twitter. Gifi is a mashup of Foursquare and Venmo. It lets you leave money for people in specific locations, which they can unlock with a Foursquare check-in.
Imagine that you check into your favorite coffee shop on Foursquare and moments later you get a text message informing you that a friend has left you $3 at that location, along with a personal message that he wants you to have a latte on him. Or you can leave the gift for more than one friend and whoever checks in first gets to keep the money.
The app, which should go live in the iPhone store today, is free to use, but requires existing Foursquare and Venmo accounts. When you leave a gift for someone, you can send them a clue to help them find it. They will get an email with the clue. When they check into the right place, a text message alerts them that they just got a gift. You can also skip the clue and just leave a gift somewhere you know someone always check into.
For friends, Gifi is just a fun way to brighten someone’s day. But businesses could use Gifi as a way to reward loyal customers with cash for checking in, or bigger brands could leave clues and money in strategic places. After all, cash is the ultimate reward.
As part of the launch, Gifi has hidden $2,500 around San Francisco. Look for it!
Here are the questions from judges Josh Felser, Joe Kraus, Todor Tashev, Robert Scoble, and Don Dodge (paraphrased):
Q: Can you do any non-montetary things?
A: Right now no, but sure why not?
Q: Are you a part of Venmo?
A: Yes, we wanted to showcase the data.
Q: Can I add anyone?
A: They have to be your friend on Foursquare.
Q: How do this scale?
A: Friends will help with virility, I think.
Gifi combines the Venmo API and Foursquare API into a fun, location based game involving real money. By hiding money for one of your friends to claim at a new restaurant you have discovered, recommending a favorite dish becomes a social game. Eg, you leave a Gifi with the hint: “staple pub food in the west village.” The next time a friend checks in at Spotted Pig, she automatically gets a payment “$17 to try the burger at spotted...