Remember Wahooly? We wrote about the startup a couple of years ago, describing it as “Klout meets Kickstarter” because it allowed users to gain startup equity in exchange for promoting the company on social media. Since then, Wahooly joined the AngelPad accelerator, rebranded as Chasm.io, and shifted focus to reciprocal sharing (“I’ll tweet your link if you tweet mine”).
Now it’s announcing a merger with Loot, an Orlando, Fla.-based startup. Chasm.io co-founder and CEO Dana Severson told me that the merger basically means two things — he’s joining Loot as vice president of sales and marketing, and he’ll be working to bring Wahooly/Chasm.io’s customers onto Loot.
So, what is Loot? It’s a mobile app where marketers can offer cash and other rewards to users who perform tasks, like taking photos or sharing content on social media.
Severson noted that those tasks don’t have to involve social sharing at all — marketers could just ask you to download an app and play for a certain period of time. He also said Loot can be a valuable source of data, for example gauging app popularity by asking users to take a photo of their home screens.
Loot says it currently has 50,000 users, and its clients include Macy’s and Save-a-Lot.
Apparently that’s what Severson had wanted to do with Wahooly, particularly after a recent survey of the current user base, which also pointed in the direction of brand rewards. In a follow-up email, Severson said, “We could have pivoted and built it from scratch, or join forces with someone that was already doing it very well.”
“One of the biggest issues for Wahooly was that equity never offered instant gratification,” Severson said, adding that it was hard to keep people on the service when “the payout can be five, six, seven years down the road.” Also making things difficult: The company struggled to raise additional funding after AngelPad.
The financial terms of the deal are not being disclosed, though Severson did say, “Our investors will be taken care of.” (In addition to AngelPad, those investors include Kalfa Equity Group Founder Joe Kalfa, Middleman Founder Jamie Dewar, and Shawn Bruins.)
“It’s a continuation of the business,” he said. “It’s not something where in a year I’ll be exiting.”