By Adam Salamon, co-founder and COO
Brief Company Description: Perk is a web browser that gives users points for searching, shopping, sharing and more. Perk points can be used for gift cards, airline miles and more.
Perk is the first web browser that rewards users with ‘Perk Points’ for everyday actions they take online, including searching, surfing, and shopping. Perk Points can be redeemed for products and services from over 2,000 merchant partners, including Apple (iTunes), 1-800 Flowers, BestBuy.com, Urban Outfitters, drugstore.com, and many others. Rewards include gift cards, airline miles, social gaming currency, Bitcoin and much more. Users can also donate their Perk Points to some of their favorite causes, including American Cancer Society, Autism Speaks, ASPCA, and more. You can learn more about the products, services and donations that you can make with your points by visiting the Perk rewards store here.
Perk is built on the open source project Chromium, the technology behind Google Chrome. Perk is available for desktop users in both Windows and Mac, and is currently available for the iPad. Perk will be coming soon to iPhone and Android mobile phones and tablets.
As a rewards browser, Perk learns about you and tailors your browsing experience based on your personal preferences. Perk gives you coupons and deals when you shop, and content based on your personal profile.
Roj Niyogi and I founded Jutera Labs, an Austin, Texas-based technology incubator that operates using the principles of keiretsu, where interlocking business relationships and shareholdings merge to form a shared ecosystem for conceiving, developing, launching, and scaling companies. Jutera Labs’ companies focus on the fields of digital media, retail and advertising. Jutera Labs developed and incubated Perk to parlay our experience with running startups in social, deals/loyalty, online and multichannel retailing into the development of Perk.
Roj Niyogi was an early employee at Socialmedia.com and a co-founder of mobile ad network MdotM. He moved to Austin, where he and I met, to escape the Silicon Valley grind.
I started my career in sales at Dell and was an early employee at Bazaarvoice, where I was a business development and sales executive before meeting Roj to start Jutera Labs and Perk.
Perk spends a lot of time working in incentivizing referrals within its user base. Since users value Perk Points and the relevant experience we deliver, they frequently refer their friends, who are typically interested in the value that only a loyalty-powered browser delivers.
Perk also relies heavily on paid distribution, a solid PR strategy and strategic partnerships with publishers who can distribute Perk with mutual benefit.
How Perk Differentiates Itself From the Competition
We are focusing on differentiating Perk not only by delivering reward points, but also by focusing on content and how it learns and adapts to users’ browsing behaviors. Perk is the only browser that draws people in using a ‘carrot’ (i.e. delivering relevant value and perks that drive customer satisfaction), rather than the ‘stick’ experience (i.e. peoples’ dislike for their current browser experience) which typically drives peoples’ decision to switch-out their browser.
Perk inherently changes the dynamic between advertisers and consumers in today’s web-based world. At present, advertisers provide little value to the user and are often seen as an annoyance. Marketing on Perk is tailored for the user and seamlessly integrated with the browser’s experience, instead of inhibiting or interrupting it. Perk is a new kind of exchange in which the user is rewarded for their attention and brand loyalty.
At Perk we aim to fundamentally change users’ digital experience by building a version of the web that is entirely based on ‘what’s in it’ for the user. Perk is far more than a standard web browser matched with a loyalty program. It’s a new way of using technology as a platform to help influence online decision-making across every layer of the advertising and shopping funnel.
Our vision for Perk is to build a version of the web where users are rewarded for their attention. Perk aims to offer a web experience that is centered around giving users tangible value—in the form of Perk Points—that they can redeem for goods, services, and causes, in exchange for doing what they already do on the web.
Perk makes money through search partnerships, relationships with advertisers who exchange Perk Points for actions, and merchants who pay Perk a commission on purchases driven through the Perk web browser.
Perk has immediate plans to grow engineering and business development headcounts, and is currently exploring a Series A financing for late 2013.
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Headquarters: Austin, Texas
Year Launched: 2013
Founders: Roj Niyogi, CEO; Adam Salamon, COO
Investors: Insight Capital, Jutera Labs