Badgeville Proves Gamification Is Here To Stay, As Recyclebank & Others Buy In

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Badgeville is convinced that 2012 is going to be a big year for gamification and that the startup can help your company take advantage of all the elements of gaming that make us tick (and click), whether they be leaderboards, badges, leveling up, experience points, or any of that good stuff. That was the motivation behind the company’s launch at Disrupt San Francisco in 2010, where Badgeville won the Audience Choice Award.

And there are plenty who agree that gamification (and Badgeville’s vision of what it means to web business and enterprise) will continue to play: Among them, Norwest Venture Partners, El Dorado Ventures, Trinity Ventures and Webb Investment Network, who collectively poured $12 million into the startup in July of last year. (This round followed a $2.5 million series A funding post-Disrupt in November 2010.)

The startup is capitalizing on an outlook that forecasts that gamification will take up an increasingly significant portion of enterprise social initiatives in the coming year, doing so by offering an embeddable gamification platform for websites (and enterprise customers) that focuses on real engagement. Badgeville Co-founder & CEO Kris Duggan set out to build the next generation of analytics through measuring and influencing realtime user behavior and giving them the game mechanics that help them level up.

The team built a dynamic game engine, allowing users and marketers to define what types of rewards they want to offer their users for certain types of engagement, and choose and offer virtual rewards, levels and reputation, tangible and advanced rewards through a flexible solution, while educating users on how to best implement those through gamification itself.

Coupled with its so-called “Social Fabric”, which allows its clients to add personalized activity streams and notifications systems into their digital properties, Badgeville has created some smart tools that give brands, marketers, and enterprise clients a relatively inexpensive way to drive customer engagement and reward users. Through the hot trend of social gamification, no less.

This functionality led Badgeville to rack up some impressive milestones in 2011, among them that Badgeville is now seeing 1 billion API calls per month across its real-time behavior rewards and reputation programs, with more than 5 million registered, active players interacting anonymously through the startup’s tracking and analytics solutions. The startup also has now that 100 global clients, which include Dell, Samsung, and NBC to name a few, and the team tells us that it has helped customers increase social sharing by 200 percent, user generated content by 50 percent, and paid conversions by 10 percent. Not bad for a year’s work.

What’s more, as to its growing list of paying clients, Badgeville announced today that Recyclebank, the loyalty rewards program that encourages people to lower the environmental impact of their lifestyles, will begin using Badgeville’s Behavior Platform and Social Fabric to bring gamification techniques and online social experiences to its online user experience.

By way of forging partnerships with municipalities, haulers, small businesses and corporate brands,
Recyclebank encourages everyday people to increase their green activities, rewarding them with points that can later be redeemed for discounts, rewards, and the like. The company hopes by educating its more than three million members through help from small businesses and municipalities, it can increase recycling rates, curb energy and water consumption, encourage smarter transportation, and everything in between.

Recyclebank will use Badgeville gamification to help motivate green behavior and up the social level of its online experience by connecting people who are passionate about the environment through social networking and by making it easier (and presumably more fun) for them to get involved and be rewarded for being green.

Together, the two are hoping to prove that green gaming is in, and Recyclebank hopes that Badgeville can add another important layer to their mission to reward people with points for installing solar panels, and perhaps become that “agnostic provider of rewards programs to motivate and reward environmentally sound behavior, and help other companies do the same” that Recyclebank CEO Jonathan Hsu spoke of to Lora Kolodny back in February of last year.

Which raises the question: Will this help Recyclebank move towards that IPO Hsu proposed by 2013? And can Badgeville continue its hockey-stick trending in 2012?