The startup economy is about recognizing problems but not stopping there. It’s about creating solutions to help solve those problems, and then ensuring those solutions get into the hands that need them. Seattle startup Validated had a killer idea - they just didn’t know how to get it to market. Founders Tov Arneson and Ian Lyman hired GenUI to bring their IP to life via an app that offsets transportation costs, and makes IRL shopping less stressful for consumers. Using QR codes to reward in-store purchases with mobility credits, Validated partnered with retailers to drive foot traffic sales, boost spending, and build loyalty. With success came good press, a fast-growing client portfolio, and an acquisition by tech transit company Moovel, a unit of Daimler. Today, Moovel uses the app in their platform to support local businesses and sustainable transit practices.
The premise for Validated is this: when consumers shop online, shipping is often free, or free conditional to hitting a spending target. But when shopping in-person, consumers are presented with numerous transportation barriers, including parking availability, parking prices, and the process of providing receipts for validation - all of which contribute to frustrated shoppers, a reduction of foot traffic, and struggling retail locations. With Validated, merchants can set spending targets and reward consumers with "mobility credits" when they hit the target. Credits can then be redeemed at any of Validated's mobility partners, including Lyft, Uber, Biketown, parking, and more. With retailers helping offset transportation costs, consumers could continue to spend more money more often, and never feel like getting there cost too much.
As experts in commercializing innovative technology ideas, GenUI's first move was to recommend the app be built in HTML5, rather than native for Android and iOS. Doing so would allow for all of the functionality that was desired while making it very easy to maintain and offer on different platforms (Android, iOS, web). It would also be critical if Validated ever wanted to white label themselves directly to other mobility providers (more on that later!).
The experience itself is simple: a customer signs up and links a credit or debit card to the Validated web app. Participating retailers and rewards are easily found and searchable. When shopping, if the customer uses that card at a participating retailer and reaches the designated spending target, mobility credits are instantly deposited into their account to be used as they wish.
"We had already developed the backend and core technology for Validated, but we didn't have the bandwidth to tackle the frontend. Getting to market and building traction quickly was imperative, both from competitive and fundraising standpoints. GenUI worked seamlessly with our internal product team to deliver a beautiful multi-platform frontend quickly and on budget."
Ian Lyman, Co-Founder and Chief Product Officer at Validated
Arc'teryx came on as an anchor client and other retailers were quickly added to the portfolio. Once a volume of business was established, another benefit became clear: offsetting transportation costs ultimately supported sustainable urban transportation, which drew the attention of Portland, OR-based Moovel.
Moovel acquired and integrated Validated's technology into their retailer offering with a goal of turning public transit choice riders into repeat riders, encouraging users to take shared transit, and shaping the future of sustainable urban mobility. Additionally, Validated's white label mobility credit technology has been used by Lyft, Tesla, American Family Insurance, and others.
GenUI and Validated not only experienced the dream of taking an idea from concept to commercialization to acquisition, but proved that the power of innovative IP can indeed help people, businesses and, in this case, the planet.
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