Textivia and Chris Baumgarden '03

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Five Medaille Alumni
        
October 1, 2010

For Chris Baumgarden ’03 SS, what started as a joke with his friends has blossomed into a promising new business.

After four years of development, Textivia launched as a text marketing tool and trivia-based prize game. An estimated five billion texts were sent over wireless networks each day in 2009, and Textivia now capitalizes on the burgeoning text messaging industry.

To play on the Textivia service, players answer a daily trivia question, sent via text message to their phone, and are entered to win the daily $25 or $50 prize chosen randomly each night at 9 p.m. Within each "right answer” reply message, players receive a discount code to a local business.

"I was blown away to find out how much small businesses are pressured into spending [on marketing] for little to no results,” explains Baumgarden. "I thought that attaching a discount to a large amount of local ‘players’ would be really effective.”

With the largest concentrations of players residing in Buffalo, Fredonia, and Dunkirk, NY, and Raleigh, NC, Baumgarden’s market continues to grow. "We started with around five [players], then 10, then 400, and now we’re at 2,500 [players] and by the time this is printed we should be around 3,500,” says Baumgarden "I'm still blown away at some winners we've had recently in California, Nevada, and Colorado. I don't even market there!

To market Textivia, they use facebook and set up booths at local events. "We just finished up a "refer a friend contest” that paid out $200 in Best Buy gift cards,” the prize was awarded to the customer who had the most referrals. "[This] worked really well,” explains Baumgarden.

To join Textivia, text "Join” to 27367 to receive the free daily trivia question. Textivia can also be found on facebook at www.facebook.com/textivia.

I'm grateful for the education I've received.

The instructors were knowledgeable and welcomed class discussions, with
respect for each student's contribution. I've learned how to be a more
effective leader. My capstone class gave insight on how to combine all
the education learned to operate a business. That's when I realized how
much I had sharpened my knowledge.

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