A new smartphone app developed in Sarnia will get people out exploring their community and shopping local, its creators say.
Seedz is a free app that works similar to Pokemon Go, but instead of collecting Pokemon, users collect virtual coupons, prizes, and special offers redeemable at local businesses, said Jessika Kiernan, one of the minds behind the app.
“A lot of people love the concept. Once you understand it it’s really not hard to use. You just download it, then you go.”
For a fee, businesses set up a profile within the app and place virtual coupons – seeds – in various geolocations. Users then find and collect the seeds using their phones, she explained.
Seeds could be discounts or exclusive offers that are redeemed in-store.
Users also gather points in the process, with top point-getters eligible for prizes each month.
“If we can make it effective… then it’s just another tool that people get to have fun with,” she said.
Sarnia’s Steve Kiernan, Jessika’s father, came up with the idea after a friend with terminal cancer tried to figure out how to leave digital messages on a map for family and friends to find on their smartphones after she died.
They soon discovered that required a lot of programming, making it cost prohibitive. But the concept becomes feasible with revenue once it’s opened up to food, entertainment, sports and other businesses, Kiernan said.
Seedz is run by Kiernan, her father, and Sarnian Kevin Williams. It’s been in development the past four years with help from third-party programmers in Toronto.
After Sarnia, they plan to move it to London and Detroit before expanding across Canada, the U.S. and Ireland, she added.
Business profiles are currently free for the Sarnia test launch. Eventually, they could cost about $1,000 per year, Kiernan said. Planting seeds will cost $5 per day.
Multiple seeds can be planted by a single business but users can collect only one at a time for redemption, she said.
Seedz can be downloaded at the iTunes store and Google Play. For more information, email Jessika Kiernan at [email protected] or visit the Seedz Sarnia office at 190 North Christina St.