SCVNGR Rewarded With $15 Million From Investors

SCVNGR has raised $15 million in venture capital to continue building a mobile app that is part Foursquare and part FarmVille.

The third round was led by Balderton Capital, with existing investors Google Ventures and Highland Capital Partners also participating. To date, the company has raised roughly $20 million.

SCVNGR lets users check-in to locations using their Android phone or iPhone, much like Foursquare does. The gaming component is that users earn rewards by participating in challenges that are often designed to bring gaming elements to real life.

A challenge may be something as easy as scanning a QR code or checking in, or as complicated as making origami art out of leftover foil from a burrito (and then taking a picture to prove it). A reward may include a discount from a local retailer or restaurant, or even a free cup of coffee (perhaps for multiple check-ins).

Seth Priebatsch, who calls himself the chief ninja of SCVNGR, says the capital comes after a year of achievements for the Cambridge, Mass.-based company.

After its first consumer-based apps launched this summer, it garnered half a million users after 20 weeks and is coming up on one million users soon. That builds on its enterprise business, which allows local businesses, universities, museums and others to create their own challenges for their customers or students. Those businesses often must license the software from SCVNGR.

UPDATE: Priebatsch declined to say what the company’s valuation was in the round, but TechCrunch reports that it is hearing from one source that it was raised at a valuation of just over $100 million.

Priebatsch said the capital will support the 51-employee company’s growth, and will also be spent on exploring international opportunities and the development of further game mechanics that can make the apps more fun, rewarding and entertaining. The app will also soon come to the BlackBerry platform.

Priebatsch argues he’s building something much more compelling than a pure check-in app. “The appeal of a check-in as a standalone entity is really compelling for only a small portion of the total audience out there. This is something fun, unique, and something social. That’s a no-brainer.”

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