Mobile Rewards Startup Lootsie Hires Steve Cho As Its First COO

Lootsie, a startup that allows advertisers to present mobile app users with special rewards, announced today that it has hired its first chief operating officer, Steve Cho.

Cho previously worked in sales at IBM, and he was most recently vice president of business development at Kiip — which is pretty much in the same business as Lootsie. He said it was “a difficult decision” to join the competition, because he has “a profound amount of respect for Kiip.”

What made the decision easier, however, was what he described as the “philosophical” difference between the two companies: “Fundamentally, the way they treat rewards is different.”

Specifically, Cho pointed to the degree of choice that Lootsie gives its users, who can save Lootsie Points and then spend them on the reward of their choice, rather than giving them a specific reward or points that can only be used in the app. That might sound like a minor distinction, but Cho repeatedly touted “the power of choice” that the platform offers, and he noted that this means advertisers are rewarding the users who are most interested in them.

Founded in 2012, Lootsie currently has 18 employees, with clients including Sole Bicycles and ShoeDazzle. Cho said his role at the company will be to “look at the biz ops side of things and just scale that bad boy.”