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Punchd has been acquired by Google (getpunchd.com)
123 points by robertdimarco on July 11, 2011 | hide | past | web | favorite | 25 comments

Did an Ask HN on this a few months ago (http://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=1897331). Knew the responses would be pretty biased, but it was still encouraging. Glad I heeded you all.

Wow, no joke. Really cool to see Cal Poly grads doing big stuff, especially from the Android Dev classes. Missed that one by a quarter :)

    Super Secure
    Patent-pending technology guarantees the integrity
    of your loyalty program. GPS triangulation, velocity
    analysis, and statistical variation keep things secure.
Each venue gets one static QR code. A bit of fraud prevention based on location and statistical analysis does not seem "super secure" to me but perhaps i am missing something.

"Super Secure" is obviously marketing copy and not an existing security spec. The actual security is explained below.

Can you link to the "actual security". I don't see it below.

Regardless, any small business with a loyalty program would pick up on some guy that comes in repeatedly for free stuff. Their reports would probably indicate it too. An electronic version like this is definitely more secure than a punchcard, which can easily be gamed by going to your local art store.

We started around the same time in Velocity, Waterloo but with a more secure patent-pending approach:


hardware took ages to develop.. It still doesn't work for BB.. ;)

That looks like quite an interesting piece of tech. I'd be keen to see it in action.

I wonder why they do one QR code instead of letting them print out a week's worth of QR codes in advance or something actually secure.

That's definitely an option, but from a usability standpoint for business owners it's a nightmare (as they have to keep track of many things already). Seems easy enough, user study showed it was a pain point.

I agree current implementation isn't exactly ideal, but we'll probably find a good compromise soon.

Definitely agree that it'd be a nightmare for small business owners. Although this implementation does seem relatively easy to game it's a starting point. When it gets to selling to small businesses, simplicity of use is pretty damn important.

I met Reed at StartupSchool last year, he was pretty passionate about this project -- and it was clear they were on to something. I hope Google continues the project, there's lots of potential here. Congrats to the team!

Reed is a bad ass

I was wondering why I saw someone retweet "We have NOT been acquired." from Punchd's account last week. Now comes the rest of the story.


And as always, congratulations! Great and fun business and I'm glad for Google that they picked them up.

Congrats Punchd, saw your great preso on 500 startups demo day (also, Alexia is dumb for ever calling you one of the 'least interesting' startups)

Huge congrats to the Punchd team! Really glad to see one of the Starup Madness final 4 have a good exit. Thanks again for participating: http://thisorthat.com/t/punchd-vs-cheekd

Congrats to Punchd, have met the team and they are all incredibly talented. It will be exciting to see their product realized via Google.

w00t! for Cal Poly. Nice job Punchd.

I'm a Cal Poly grad and this excites me. Congrats guys!

FYI the transaction price was estimated at greater than $10mil. http://techcrunch.com/2011/07/08/google-to-buy-mobile-loyalt...

I like the product and am excited for the team, but $10mil seems a bit high to me for a pretty early product. I'm assuming that this will eventually roll into Google wallet as a competitor to Square's card case.

In any case, this is great news for the young team - looks like they'll continue their work but within the confines of Google. Looks like Dave McClure's hypothesis is getting stronger by the day with a few 500 startups companies getting snapped up recently (Backtype to Twitter and Cardmunch to Linkedin).

(disclosure- we're a fellow 500startups company - go 500!)

Agreed. Given it's a nascent product with few users/retailers and low barrier to entry (there are at least a dozen similar scan-code-for-punch-card apps), it sounds like a pure talent buy. And $10MM sounds high if that is truly the case.

Firstly, congratulations to the Punchd guys.

Secondly, it is interesting because there are indeed a bunch of other punch-card replacement apps. Even here in Australia I know of at least two. If it's a pure talent acquisition (which seems to be a logical conclusion) then it is indeed quite a large sum.

I can't imagine Google wouldn't already have begun development of a similar concept when creating Google Wallet.

It's fantastic for the founders though. Not having met them, and just based on what I've read here, they seem like great guys.

Patent-pending tech can increase valuation.

Is there any current wisdom out there on this?

It does seem reasonable to start some patent paperwork if it increases our company's leverage. But how interested are larger companies in this sort of thing?

Is patentability a criterion to think about when choosing the direction of a startup?

Issued patents certainly can add tangible value to a deal, but take years to make their way through USPTO and require a lot of money to file, respond to office actions and the examiner.

However, most startups with time and not too much $ can file a provisional patent for "patent pending" status, which is likely what Punchd has. It's really just a way to extend the patent filing deadline an extra year.

Thus the value of an un-examined, pending patent to a deal is negligible -- especially to Google. Most pending patents are never granted.


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