Social Loyalty Platform PunchTab Releases New iOS App PunchBowl

PunchTab, a startup that offers a social loyalty platform for consumers, publishers, and businesses, is debuting PunchBowl, a free mobile application that provides local merchants with a way to offer in-store giveaways and possibly help drive in-store traffic.

For background, PunchTab allows publishers to give reward points to users who check in to a site or blog every day. Visitors, which authenticate via Facebook Connect, can earn points for Facebook comments, WordPress comments and Facebook likes. Once a publisher rewards a user, the visitor can redeem the reward through the PunchTab rewards catalog.

Launching with more than 30 stores across the Bay Area, the companion ‘PunchBowl’mobile app (not to be confused with the online party planning and digital card platform Punchbowl) takes more of a local angle allows businesses to create and publish giveaways. The name is derived from the act of dropping business cards in a fish bowl at a local business to win a free lunch, or other service.

Similar to PunchTab, PunchBowl gives consumers opportunities to enter local business giveaways by
taking social actions. So customers receive one entry when they “like” a business’ Facebook page, Tweet, or email links to the giveaway. The mobile app is free for both customers and merchants. The incentive for consumers to download the app, says the startup, is that they get access to free goods like cupcakes, meals and more.

PunchTab, which was founded by YouSendIt founder Ranjith Kumaran, has raised $850,000 in seed funding from Mohr Davidow Ventures, Embarcadero Ventures, and angels Venky Harinarayan, Anand Rajaraman, and Nick Sturiale.