Chico State students' Pocket Points app rewards students who go to class, lay off phones

Oct 9, 2014 8:04 PM by Brian Johnson

Two Chico State students are riding high on their new app that's exploding in popularity on campus.

The app's creator Rob Richardson says it's a win-win-win for students, for professors, and for local businesses. He came up with the idea last spring, the app launched about a month ago, and it now has 3,000 users and 15 local businesses on board.

Richardson, a Chico State computer science junior and already the developer of two apps rolled out for IOS, says any good app creator is trying to solve a problem.
Luckily, a problem was staring Richardson right in the face last spring.

"I look around in my class of 100 people or so and I see half the kids with their heads down and our initial name was going to be ‘heads up' or something like that," joked Richardson.

"It hurts you as a student if you're not paying attention, and also for a professor if they see their students not engaged in their conversations," Richardson said.

The app Pocket Points was originally meant for professors, allowing them to give extra credit to students in their class who stayed off their phones.
But after focus groups revealed that idea wasn't going to work, co-creators and Sigma Chi brothers Rob Richardson and Mitch Gardner said they pivoted under the guidance of a Chico State professor.

But the no phones in class idea stuck.

"We think we're the only app in the world right now that incentivizes you not to use the app," said Gardner, a senior in business marketing.

But how does it work?

Students sit down in class, turn on the app, put their phone away, and then start earning points.

Once they're done with class, they can take out their phone, swipe the Pocket Points notification to unlock their phone and see how many points they've earned.

Those points can now be redeemed for deals at 15 local businesses, including Riley's bar and Woodstock's Pizza.
Woodstock's "bogo" deal is fellow frat brother Tyler Watson's favorite deal.

"I would say it's well beyond our fraternity," said Watson. "It's a Chico State thing now."

Eventually, Pocket Points plans to expand to all CSU campuses, and roll the app out for Androids.
And that's not all.

"We want to be the biggest coupon outlet in the country, and we think we can do that," Gardner said.

The app uses a Geolocator, so it knows when you're on campus and won't work if you step off campus.

Interestingly enough, it does work at the Chico State library.


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