If Facebook Credits becomes the de facto way to pay for things beyond just Farmville cows, Denver-based startup Plink is positioned to benefit most.
The company, which arranges loyalty programs with offline restaurants and retailers in the form of Facebook Credits, today announced the close of an angel investment round worth $633,000 from digital ad company Matomy Media Group and Denver-based angel firm Ahlborg Acquisitions. The round values Plink, which launched its product in January, at $5 million.
The company’s product allows users who connect their credit cards with Plink and spend money at any of Plink’s partner companies to be rewarded in the form of Facebook Credits. Current partners include Arby’s, Dunkin’ Donuts, Quiznos, Red Robin, and Taco Bell. The company started with restaurant chains but is expanding into other areas, talking with apparel, home improvement, and general retailers.
But for now, Plink is helping users turn their purchases of real life burgers into virtual cows. Peter Vogel, co-founder of Plink, admitted Facebook Credits are mostly used nowadays by gamers purchasing virtual goods in Facebook-hosted games. That itself is no niche market — 70 million people play Facebook games and, since the launch of Facebook Credits last year, 15 million users have bought virtual goods with them. Startups like Milyoni are offering access to 2000 to 3000 movies and streaming live events, all payable by Facebook Credits. Vogel said he believes FB credits are the fastest growing segment of Facebook, revenue-wise.
“Expect Facebook to announce things in the next few months that show they’re expanding the Credits program,” Vogel said. “They will launch things related to content, and more people will start accepting Credits as a payment.” Naturally, Plink is very bullish that credits will become a universal currency and will be appealing to a larger market, he added.
As Facebook Credits expand in uses, Plink hopes its rewards program will influence users’ offline purchasing habits. It makes money regardless of whether that happens — the company takes a cut from any Plink-enabled credit card transaction at its partners.