A Startup Founder Got $30 Million, Struggled, Then Did This Complicated Product

Lucas duplan clinkleClinkle via TechCrunchClinkle CEO and co-founder Lucas Duplan

More details have finally been revealed about Clinkle, the mobile payments startup that has long been in stealth mode since its 23-year-old founder raised ~$US30 million from big Silicon Valley names in 2013.

Even though the company’s app finally launched on select college campuses in September following a rough year of layoffs and executive turnover, the public still didn’t have many details about how it worked.

Well, now we do, and it sounds complicated.

Founder and CEO Lucas Duplan broke the idea down for TechCrunch’s Josh Constine. The name of the app “Clinkle” has been officially changed to “Treats.”

Here are the 9 steps, from TechCrunch:

  1. You sign up for Treats, order its debit card, and add money to it.
  2. You swipe your Treats card to make purchases like normal, with no extra fee, though there are charges for ATM use, etc.
  3. After every seventh purchase you earn a Treat.
  4. You take a photo to create a virtual gift card, and send the Treat to a friend. You can’t redeem it yourself.
  5. Your friend is notified they have a Treat waiting to be unlocked.
  6. Other friends can see the locked Treat and its photo, and can “Boost” aka Like the Treat to increase the chance it will be a winner.
  7. The friend who received the Treat swipes their Treats card to make a purchase, unlocking the Treat.
  8. If the Treat is a winner, they immediately get refunded the entire price of the purchase they just made.
  9. Whether or not they win, they then see the photo gift card you sent them

Complex, right? Although the rewards may appeal to Treats’ college kid target audience, it definitely doesn’t seem like it will reduce the friction of paying for things, at least at first.

Read the rest of TechCrunch’s piece here.

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