SOURCE: Blend

O'Grady Communications

October 30, 2013 11:12 ET

Blend Launches College-Only App for Students to Share Experiences and Reap Merchandise From the Hottest Brands

App Offers New Channel for Brands to Reach College Students

SAN JOSE, CA--(Marketwired - October 30, 2013) - Blend (www.blend.la) today announced the launch of its new mobile application built exclusively for the college audience that allows students to share experiences and reap free products from the some of the hottest college brands. This new application offered through the App Store and in the Android Market is now widely available to all Universities in the U.S. On Blend, students share photos based on the Blend (theme) of the day, earn Snaps (likes) from their peers, and use Snaps to redeem Gifts (products and gift cards) from popular college brands.

Blend's innovative in-app promotional channel bridges the gap between brands and students offering a curated collection of the latest trending products. Targeting the much sought after millennial audience, Blend integrates free products and gift cards directly into photo feeds and connects brands with students. Users earn Snaps, Blend's "social currency" which are based on peer endorsements of photos displayed on the app -- equivalent of an FB "like." The more Snaps earned, the more Gifts can be redeemed, driving users to the product's websites. Blend's brand partners include some of college's favorites, such as Yurbuds, Southern Tide, Hydroflask, Pura Vida, Rowdy Gentleman, and State Traditions. 

"Students and brands love Blend: it's a win-win for everyone," said Akash Nigam, CEO and co-founder of Blend. "Students can easily get the newest trending apparel, products, or gift cards from their favorite online stores just by sharing their college experiences, something that college students would love to do but can't on other multi-directional, diluted networks. What's unique about Blend is now brands have the opportunity to showcase their products inconspicuously in the app and truly blend into the college experience without appearing 'scammy.' The most sought after demographic is being marketed to without them even knowing it -- it's perfect. We are very discerning about what brands we select. In order to be successful, it's important to showcase the truly coveted products and services that appeal to today's college student. The best four years of their lives just got a whole lot better." 

Blend's team has been operating in stealth, initially launching the app to 30 colleges including the University of Michigan, University of Oregon, Stanford, Arizona State, University of Alabama, University of Texas, Duke, and UCLA, using disruptive guerilla-marketing tactics and an innovative Blend Campus Influencer program. With over 150 campus reps nation-wide, the Blend Campus Influencer program fully engages students who can be spotted in their BlendBoy's full-bodied mesh suit, looking a bit like the Blue Man group, on campus or in a lecture hall. The user base is increasing nearly 50% on a weekly basis.

Blend has raised a substantial amount of funding from New Enterprise Associates General Partner Kittu Kolluri, early backer of companies like Climate Corporation, Braintree and Tableau Software; Nickhil Jakatdar, CEO of VuClip, largest global video provider; Ramu Sunkara, former CEO of Qik, acquired by Skype; and Cristian Burci, Digital Catalyst Fund, "The Founding Father of the Romanian Advertising Industry."

About Blend 

Based in San Jose, California, Blend is creating a new way for brands to reach the college audience. Blend, an app exclusively for the college audience, enables students to share experiences and get free stuff from their favorite brands. Blend bridges the gap between the brands and students creating an innovative promotional channel that offers a curated collection of the hottest brands and the finest products specifically for the college audience. Blend is available throughout all U.S. college campuses.

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