College students are a significant market for big brands. With an estimated 20 million students attending universities and colleges in the United States alone, college students represent a valuable demographic for brands looking to connect with younger consumers. However, engaging with college students can be a challenge for brands.
Students today are looking for more than just a product or service – they want to feel connected to the brands they support. They expect a high level of engagement and want to be entertained and informed while interacting with brands. For this reason, brands need to find creative ways to capture the attention of college students and build lasting relationships with them.
SWAG’R is a location-based augmented reality (AR) platform that integrates gamification and geolocation technologies to drive consumer engagement with national, regional, and local brands. The platform allows users to access a 3D map of their surrounding area to see offers from both local merchants and big-name retailers placed strategically nearby. Users can collect these offers in real-time AR and redeem their offers at their convenience. SWAG’R allows users to easily share offers with their friends via text or iMessage. SWAG’R has been quietly developing an app that delivers remarkably powerful KPIs, with average click-through rates (CTRs) of 35% – several times the CTR for Google search ads – and redemption or conversion rates as high as 40%. Behind the scenes of this revolutionary platform is a team of dedicated innovators disrupting the Ad tech space.
Greg Williams, the CEO and founder of SWAG’R, has a successful track record as an entrepreneur. He started his first company, ShopperBox, at the age of 25, which was an unattended delivery station for UPS and FedEx packages in multifamily and commercial buildings. The company was successful, with DHL and FedEx signing up as clients. However, after the 9/11 attacks, the company shut down, and Amazon bought its patents.
After that, Williams got into real estate and started a company, Pontifx LLC, which does consulting, private equity, and debt transactions. Pontifx LLC is a private commercial real estate lending firm that has recently funded over $500 million. This experience in real estate and private equity has given Williams unique insights into the opportunities that SWAG’R can leverage.
Williams’ entrepreneurship and business development background has helped him guide SWAG’R’s big-picture vision and keep the team running smoothly. He injects massive passion and fun into daily operations and is the company’s cheerleader. His leadership has made SWAG’R an innovative and exciting platform for discovering deals and discounts from local merchants and big retailers.
When asked about his team, Greg stated, “My dad taught me to surround yourself around people that are smarter than you, and you will always succeed. I trust my team. I love my team. I’d take a bullet for my team. What they do in return is they love my vision. They love my product. And they’re leaders. And when you build something that has this much value, you do bring that leadership because they see it.”
SWAG’R’s executive team consists of accomplished professionals with diverse backgrounds and extensive experience in their respective fields. George Aposporos, the COO of the company, was the founding VP of Business Development at Amazon at Amazon’s IPO. He worked closely with Jeff Bezos in designing and executing the company’s portal strategy, which was instrumental in growing the company from 300,000 to 11 million customers in 24 months. He was also Chief Strategy Officer for Priceline Web House Club, working directly with Jay Walker, the founder of Priceline.
CFO Marcia Stillwell has over 24 years of experience as Corporate Treasurer working directly under Phil Knight at Nike Inc. as well as serving as CFO for POIC + RAHS and Treasurer for the Women’s Center for Leadership.
Kevin Khojasteh brings a long history of entrepreneurship experience with a successful track record for business ventures in multiple industries. He initially came in as an early capital investor but was then quite impressed with Swag’r’s concept, vision, and leadership team, that he soon came on board as the company’s President.
CGO (Chief Gaming Officer) Antonio Tambunan was a top Wall Street analyst in the gaming sector for Deutsche Bank and has over 25 years of investment experience, focusing on disruptive technology and socially responsible enterprises. CTO Ben Strackany has over 20 years of experience in the technology industry and a proven track record of success. Lastly, VP of Strategic Partnerships Sophia Choe brings a strong background in 15 years of sales, marketing, branding, and communication to the team.
SWAG’R started with an idea for a location-based app where users could drop a pin and receive a push notification to pick up items. One of Greg’s mentors approached him with a partnership, but after some time, they went their separate ways, and Greg began developing the team that would take SWAG’R to the next level. They began beta testing the app by approaching sororities and fraternities at universities like the University of Oregon, USC, and UCLA. They conducted focus groups to gather feedback from these groups on what they would like to see on an app.
Using the feedback they received, they worked with developers to build the SWAG’R app, integrating geolocation, augmented reality, and gamification technologies. They hard-loaded the app into students’ phones for testing and continued to gather feedback through additional testing at Arizona State University (ASUI).
The beta testing was successful, and they further developed and refined the SWAG’R platform. The platform was designed to allow users to easily access offers from local and big-name retailers and to redeem their savings at their convenience. The app also makes it easy for users to share offers with their friends via text or iMessage.
After the successful beta testing of SWAG’R, the next step was to figure out how to scale the platform. Greg realized that he needed to rebuild the app’s back end to handle the increased traffic and user demand. George Aposporos, who had been involved with SWAG’R on and off from the time of the ASU test, worked with a CTO friend to design the next generation of the back end, which continues to evolve.
In 2018, SWAG’R was launched at Harvard, BC, and BU and was the official app for College Fest at Fenway Park. To promote the app, they ran a competition offering prizes for the student who could get the most downloads. This promotion was very successful, and SWAG’R was able to get 35% of the student body to download the app in the first month.
Now, more than ever, brands are looking for alternative, less expensive solutions for their advertising needs. SWAG’R offers a unique and engaging platform for brands to connect with consumers through targeted promotions and offers. The app continues to evolve and expand, focusing on providing users with a fun and easy-to-use platform for accessing deals and promotions from various retailers. For more information on SWAG’R and the team behind it, visit https://www.gotswagr.com/