In the fall of 2013, Binghamton University students Shachar Avraham, ‘15, and Scott Wisotsky, ‘15, came up with an idea that would change their lives. At the time, Avraham and Wisotsky were just juniors. Now, they are the co-founders of Campus Pursuit, an app that is used at over 45 college campuses nationwide and has been acquired by Refuel Agency, a marketing solutions firm.
Campus Pursuit allows students to engage in an ongoing scavenger hunt for prizes hidden around their college campus. Wisotsky wrote in an email that the app was created to help connect students with businesses and represents a new, interactive type of marketing.
“We wanted to create a fun and engaging platform for brands to advertise to students,” Wisotsky wrote. “Although it was difficult to scale the app and grow our business, one of the things that always motivated us through the hard times was that we are making students happy every day.”
When the app was first started, scavenger hunts ran Monday through Friday, and local businesses such as GasLamp Gym, Binghamton Hots and Number 5 Restaurant sponsored prizes. As the app grew, it began to attract the attention of larger companies such as Neuro Drinks, No Whey Chocolate, PopCorners, NFL Sunday Ticket and Swago. Now, scavenger hunts only run when a brand is interested in activating one, and prizes are sponsored by both small and large businesses.
“Brands benefit from the organic user-generated content and recognize the authentic drive the students involved in the scavengers have for their products,” Avraham wrote. “Students can find all different prizes from many kinds of businesses on the Campus Pursuit app.”
The app quickly became popular on BU’s campus, and in 2014, it began to spread to other colleges. In doing so, the app attracted the attention of Refuel Agency, a niche marketing services company that saw potential in Campus Pursuit. In January 2017, Refuel Agency acquired Campus Pursuit and offered Avraham and Wisotsky positions at the company. Now, they are involved in the operation of Campus Pursuit and help sell and market other Refuel Agency solutions.
With Refuel Agency’s backing, Campus Pursuit is expected to be active at 100 campuses nationwide by fall 2017. In addition, Wisotsky and Avraham hope to expand the app to other locations, including corporate campuses and community colleges.
“We would like to see more and more brands utilizing scavenger hunts in their overall college-marketing strategy,” Wisotsky said. “We already ran a scavenger hunt on a corporate campus. In the future, we see other organizations outside of traditional college campuses utilizing our software to run their own scavenger hunts.”
Over the past five years, Avraham and Wisotsky have been able to watch their idea grow from a college hobby into a career path. Wisotsky stated that much of Campus Pursuit’s success is due to the competitive and interactive nature of the app.
“From the beginning, our philosophy has been to engage students with brands in an interactive and memorable way,” Wisotsky wrote. “Campus Pursuit scavenger hunts combine the physical with the digital, and evoke emotion within the students who race around campus against one another to find prizes. The thrill of accomplishment after winning a prize is unmatched.”