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This article was published on April 25, 2013

    LevelUp and Merchant Warehouse launch $1m fund to encourage developers to build mobile-payment apps

    LevelUp and Merchant Warehouse launch $1m fund to encourage developers to build mobile-payment apps
    Nick Summers
    Story by

    Nick Summers

    Nick Summers is a technology journalist for The Next Web. He writes on all sorts of topics, although he has a passion for gadgets, apps and Nick Summers is a technology journalist for The Next Web. He writes on all sorts of topics, although he has a passion for gadgets, apps and video games in particular. You can reach him on Twitter, circle him on Google+ and connect with him on LinkedIn.

    LevelUp has partnered with Merchant Warehouse today to launch a $1 million co-sponsored development fund designed to encourage more developers to build apps leveraging its mobile payments platform.

    LevelUp has its own iOS and Android app, which users can link to their credit or debit card and then pay for goods using an on-screen QR code.

    The technology was supported by hardware running Genius, a unified platform created by Merchant Warehouse, in October last year. The various readers integrate a number of different transaction methods, payment types and customer loyalty schemes to give merchants a ‘one size fits all’ solution for accepting mobile payments.

    LevelUp has realized though that to gain significant traction, it needs to go beyond its own dedicated app.

    The development fund announced today follows the launch of LevelUp White Label last September. Businesses can have a custom-branded mobile payments app either by outsourcing the development to LevelUp, or grabbing the SDK and embedding it in their existing app.

    Sweetgreen, a collection of 16 farm to table salad restaurants in the DC area, was the first company to take advantage of this service with its Sweetgreen Rewards app. LevelUp is also working on an app for First Trade Union Bank, although a release date is still to be confirmed.

    Using the development fund

    More apps are needed though to raise the profile of the LevelUp platform. Qualifying applicants will be able to receive funds for up to 25 percent of their total app development costs, as well as integration with the Genius Customer Engagement Platform.

    “More and more merchants are looking for ways to engage their customer base across multiple channels,” said Henry Helgeson, CEO of Merchant Warehouse.

    “Mobile gives merchants a tremendous opportunity to know their customers better than ever before. LevelUp and Merchant Warehouse want to give more merchants the opportunity to extend the reach of their brand and tap into a wealth of customer data to help them grow their businesses.”

    LevelUp is an off-shoot of the location-based game SCVNGR, which is backed by Google Ventures, Balderton Capital, Continental Investors, Highland Capital, Transmedia Capital and T-Venture, the venture arm of Deutsche-Telekom.