News

Atlanta big brands benefit from top-rated apps

BY: Ellie Hensley Jul 10, 2015, 6:00am EDT

Source: The Business Journals

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Atlanta is a hotbed of health informatics, startups and financial technology, but if it plays its cards right, it could be known as an app town as well.

Silicon Valley, San Francisco, Seattle — these are the cities people often think of as booming centers of app development. But Atlanta has three important ingredients that could help it join those ranks: Young, technology­minded graduates, an active startup community and Fortune 500 and 1000 companies.

Think of any large Atlanta brand, and chances are, there’s an app for it. SunTrust has an app for mobile banking. The Home Depot’s allows customers to search for products, buy them over mobile and pick them up in­store. The Coca­Cola Co. has an app for its Freestyle machines so fans can create and dispense customized beverages. And CNN and The Weather Channel’s apps consistently rank at the top of their categories.

More apps have been developed in Atlanta than can be mentioned in one story, but many of these go bust before the public ever hears of them. Some things simply translate better to the format, said Michael Tavani, co­founder of Scoutmob and founder of Switchyards.

“…Two years ago, every entrepreneur I met for coffee had an app idea,” Tavani said. “Not everything needs to be an app.”

Entertainment and social media apps have always been extremely popular. Atlanta-­based mobile gaming studio Dragon Army’s “Robots Love Ice Cream” game ranked among the top 1 percent of gaming apps last year. Anonymous messaging app Yik Yak was the No. 4 most­ downloaded social networking app in the App store in fall 2014.

Another big app genre in Atlanta is the group of apps designed to help tourists and locals navigate a particular city. Scoutmob made waves in 2010 with its exclusive deals on city­specific restaurants, bars and shops. It is now available in Nashville, Tenn., New York City and Washington, D.C., as well as Atlanta.

A similar app, XPLRR, offers an Atlanta­specific events calendar, deals and discounts, a rewards program, weather and traffic reports.

And the InterContinental Hotels Group (IHG), whose North American headquarters is in Atlanta, offers several different apps to help guests book reservations, take walking tours around their hotels and translate over 2,000 phrases in 12 languages. To bring the latter to fruition, IHG partnered with another local app, TripLingo, a language and culture tool for international travelers.

TripLingo founder Jesse Maddox’s concept is to “take a [language] phrase book, drag it into the 21st century and make it useful for travelers.”

“I realized most tools were for fluency,” Maddox said. “Travelers aren’t looking for fluency, and most tools aren’t oriented for that.”

Although TripLingo began mainly as a language app, it has evolved so users can learn about the culture of the place they are visiting and even make free international calls over Wi­Fi to help companies reduce roaming charges.
TripLingo is one of many enterprise apps developed in Atlanta. Although it also offers its product to individual consumers, most apps developed for business-­to-­business use aren’t meant for the general public, and you won’t see those advertised in the App Store or on Google Play.

ION Loyalty by Sionic Mobile, for instance, helps merchants increase foot traffic, sales and repeat customer visits by tying mobile ads, payments, gift cards and rewards into one universal program that targets community merchants. When customers use the app to make transactions, the participating merchant avoids dealing with credit companies and their fees, and it can take part in a gift card or reward program for no cost.
“For restaurants that are not part of a bigger restaurant group, the likelihood of being able to afford gift cards and loyalty programs is pretty slim,” said Ronald Herman, CEO and founder of Sionic Mobile. “What we’re doing is helping very small businesses compete on a level playing field.”

Another B2B app in Atlanta is CatfishAIR by AuthenticID, a two­factor identification tool used by banks and money transfer and telecommunications companies to prevent fraud. Users send a photo of their identification documents to the system, which can tell within seconds if they’ve been tampered with. Then the user snaps their headshot, and the system compares it to their headshot on the document.

The app shaves this process, which normally takes about three minutes, down to 10 seconds or less. It also aims to help banks and telecoms save the nearly $800 million they lose annually due to fraud.

Perhaps due to Atlanta’s strong fintech and health IT communities, there is a concentration of these type of apps in this market. Split, another fintech app launched in Atlanta, allows users to pay and split restaurant bills with friends to avoid waiting.

Sharecare Inc.’s popular AskMD helps users identify the causes of health symptoms through brief questionnaires and track their own and their family’s health data.

There are a number of different business models a developer can opt for, depending on what sort of app they’re making. Some models are very straightforward: Sionic Mobile gets a 1 percent success fee from the merchant for each transaction. TripLingo sells access to its app to individuals or to companies with employees who often travel abroad.

Robots Love Ice Cream is an example of a “freemium” game, which means you can get the basic version for free, but extras and premium features, called “in­app purchases,” cost money.

“It’s one thing to have a good game, but you also have to monetize the game, which can be tricky, because most people want things for free,” Dragon Army CEO Jeff Hilimire said.

Succeeding as an app developer in Atlanta can be very difficult, because there isn’t the same level of angel investing and venture capital here as in top “app towns” like Silicon Valley and San Francisco.

Consumer apps like Instagram have no revenue baked into their business model — in these cases, the developer’s goal is often to raise enough money and garner enough attention and success to be acquired by a larger company, and according to Tavani, Atlanta’s venture capitalists don’t often take chances on apps without certain revenue streams.

“When we’re talking about consumer apps… Atlanta is way behind New York and San Francisco,” Tavani said.
B2B apps can face less of a struggle.

“If you’re making a very consumer­focused tech product, it can help to be in San Francisco, but for us it actually works out fine,” TripLingo’s Maddox said. “We don’t need to be in San Francisco for what we’re doing. For enterprise­focused companies, it’s a great market to be in.”

Despite the funding issues associated with launching an app in Atlanta, the city has much to offer mobile app developers.

“Atlanta is a natural triangulation of involved corporate citizens like SunTrust, Delta and Coke, along with a vibrant startup community, whether that’s out of ATV [Atlanta Technology Village] or ATDC [Advanced Technology Development Center], and then you have a good academic community,” said Bill Keen, vice president of mobile solutions and digital guest experience for IHG. “It’s a perfect confluence of local involvement that can bring some great ideas to market.”

To reach its potential as an “app town,” Atlanta needs to stay focused on retaining its young tech graduates, said Nikki Santoro, vice president of product and design for The Weather Channel LLC.

“Atlanta is a very different town than Silicon Valley, than Seattle, than New York or Boston, but it’s got a lot of great potential that really starts with Georgia Tech and [The University of] Georgia,” Santoro said. “I think the way we become ‘the place’ for mobile development, for great creative startups, is really to keep that talent here.”

Ellie Hensley is an entertainment, health care and general assignment reporter.

Sionic Mobile Unveils Fourth Generation ION Rewards App Featuring Fresh New Design, Intuitive User Interface, Rich Features and Functionality

BY: Business Wire July 07, 2015 08:45 AM EDT

Source: Business Wire

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ATLANTA — Sionic Mobile, a mobile commerce leader, today launched its all-new ION Rewards app (version 4.0) for consumers, free in both App Store and Play. This latest release introduces new features and functionality including an interactive user interface, simple, yet secure two-tap checkout process and instant, real-time rewards for every purchase completed using the app. The new ION Rewards app enhances the shopping experience from start to finish, delivering location-based, tailored promotions, enabling convenient and fast checkouts, and then, rewards users instantly for every completed checkout with IONs that spend like cash.

ION Rewards users now have access to the nation’s largest mobile rewards marketplace, consisting of 100,000 retail locations including top brands in apparel, automotive, coffee shops, electronics, entertainment, movie theaters, home improvement, hotels, office supplies, restaurants and sporting goods. The first truly universal loyalty rewards program, ION Rewards combines secure and convenient mobile payments (no physical card required) with instant rewards, essentially paying users to pay with their phones.

Purchases are completed with two taps in the app using a linked credit or debit card or a third tap to apply earned IONs toward any purchase during checkout. Users earn 2 percent or more of every purchase completed, in real-time, with no pending wait periods, and on top of any rewards they may receive from their bank or credit card provider. IONs spend like cash on anything, any time at any merchant in the ION marketplace; there are no restrictions and IONs never expire. Users also earn 2,000 IONs for simply downloading the app, setting up an account and completing the email verification process.

“Today’s savvy consumers expect mobile payments and loyalty rewards to be convenient, simple and have no limitations,” Ronald Herman, CEO and founder of Sionic Mobile, explained. “There are plenty of loyalty programs available but most are confusing and have restrictions that make them difficult to use. We wanted to create the ultimate user experience by first building the largest variety, multi-channel merchant marketplace where consumers shop or dine regularly. Next, we made rewards immediate, relevant and easy to earn and spend at any ION merchant with no strings attached.”

The fourth generation ION Rewards app uses proprietary, three-tier fraud detection technology, providing one of the most secure mobile payments and rewards platforms available today. The app also leverages tokenized payment processing to protect consumers, merchants and banks.

To learn more please visit http://IONRewards.com.

About Sionic Mobile
Midtown Atlanta-based Sionic Mobile helps small-medium business merchants get and keep mobile savvy customers by uniting mobile ads, loyalty rewards, eGift cards, and mobile payments in a simple, affordable service and provides nonprofit organizations an always-on mobile fundraising tool. The Company’s free ION Rewards and Shop2Give apps for iOS and Android make mobile payments at more than 100,000 locations nationwide simple, secure and rewarding for consumers.

Contacts For Sionic Mobile
Anna Stanley, 678-781-3072
anna@williammills.com
or
Kathryn Farmer, 678-781-7208
kathryn@williammills.com

It Pays to Pay with Your Phone | Sionic Mobile Hits 100k Locations

BY: CAREY TUCKER JUNE 2, 2015

Source: Hypepotamus

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Mobile payment is a hot topic that has been eagerly anticipated and discussed for quite some time. Nokia, Philips and Sony have been investing in Near Field Communication (NFC) technology since the early 2000’s. In 2010, Mashable release and article entitled, “Why Your Smartphone Will Replace Your Wallet.” Who can forget Apple’s big rollout of Apple Pay in 2014? And just last week, Google announced Android Pay, which will allow consumers to utilize NFC with less hassle, as well as the ability to make payments within apps. Yet, even with the tech world abuzz over mobile commerce, it hasn’t quite caught on with consumers as initially forecasted.

Most contemporary mobile payment platforms aren’t holistic in their approach; meaning, they still haven’t evolved into truly digital wallets by solely offering payment processing. Moreover, they aren’t currently accepted in enough retail outlets necessary for universal adoption. Midtown Atlanta-based Sionic Mobile looks to tick all the boxes by uniting mobile ads, loyalty rewards, eGift cards, and mobile payments in a simple, affordable service with their ION Rewards app (check out our previous coverage here). They recently announced a partnership with CashStar, which will give them more than 100,000 locations that accept ION Rewards. We recently chatted with the Sionic Mobile team to learn more.

With Sionic Mobile’s latest partnership, ION Rewards’ merchant footprint will more than double. This recent surge in merchant locations comes just weeks before the company releases the highly anticipated, fourth generation ION Rewards app on June 15th. IONs are real-time, instant rewards. There’s no restrictions and they never expire.

“Retailers realize the importance of mobile, and recognize the growing consumer awareness of mobile payments and loyalty,” says Ronald Herman, CEO and Founder of Sionic Mobile. “We’ve made it easy for mobile-savvy consumers to earn 2% rewards at every checkout, on top of the rewards they get from their bank or credit card provider. By doubling the ION merchant locations and adding thousands of coffee shops, restaurants and other merchant types, we are making it practical to earn and spend IONs every day.”

“Simply downloading an app is not enough; consumers must have motivation and opportunity to use the app at a wide variety of merchants on a daily basis,” he continues. “We reward consumers instantly at every checkout. Our app users not only have the convenience of paying for purchases with their smartphones, but also have the peace of mind that each transaction is secure and free of fraud. We removed the restrictions typical of other loyalty programs and as a result, ION Rewards is quickly becoming one of the go-to apps used by consumers as a part of their daily routine.”

Download ION Rewards on the App Store for iOS and on Google Play for Android.

Follow Sionic Mobile on:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sionic-Mobile/115810775149589
Twitter: https://twitter.com/SionicMobile
Google+: https://plus.google.com/116091970283590553919/about
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/sionic-mobile-corporation

Sionic Mobile Eyes Surge in Retail Locations as Company Prepares to Launch ION Rewards Version 4.0

BY: Business Wire May 27, 2015 10:34 AM EDT

Source: Business Wire

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ATLANTA–Sionic Mobile, a mobile commerce leader, today announced it is more than doubling the number of merchant locations where its ION Rewards app users can earn IONs at every checkout and spend them like cash at any time on anything at any ION merchant. This recent surge in merchant locations comes just weeks before the company releases the highly anticipated, fourth generation ION Rewards app on June 15th.

“Retailers realize the importance of mobile, and recognize the growing consumer awareness of mobile payments and loyalty,” said Ronald Herman, CEO and founder of Sionic Mobile. “We’ve made it easy for mobile-savvy consumers to earn 2% rewards at every checkout, on top of the rewards they get from their bank or credit card provider. By doubling the ION merchant locations and adding thousands of coffee shops, restaurants and other merchant types, we are making it practical to earn and spend IONs every day.”

Sionic Mobile has partnered with CashStar, the industry-leading provider of prepaid commerce solutions, to provide CashStar-powered digital gift cards for a large, diverse roster of leading restaurants and retailers.

“Simply downloading an app is not enough; consumers must have motivation and opportunity to use the app at a wide variety of merchants on a daily basis,” Herman said. “We reward consumers instantly at every checkout. Our app users not only have the convenience of paying for purchases with their smartphones, but also have the peace of mind that each transaction is secure and free of fraud. We removed the restrictions typical of other loyalty programs and as a result, ION Rewards is quickly becoming one of the go-to apps used by consumers as a part of their daily routine.”

To learn more about ION Rewards and retailers where the app may be used, please visit http://IONrewards.com.

About Sionic Mobile
Midtown Atlanta-based Sionic Mobile helps small-medium business merchants get and keep mobile savvy customers by uniting mobile ads, loyalty rewards, eGift cards, and mobile payments in a simple, affordable service and provides nonprofit organizations an always-on mobile fundraising tool. The Company’s free ION RewardsⓇ and Shop2GiveⓇ apps for iOS and Android make mobile payments at more than 100,000 locations nationwide simple, secure and rewarding for consumers and supporters alike.

Contacts
For Sionic Mobile
Anna Stanley, 678-781-3072
anna@williammills.com
or
Kathryn Farmer, 678-781-7208
kathryn@williammills.com

Sionic Mobile Appoints Johnny Pitts as Chief Quality Assurance Manager

BY: Atlanta CityBizList April 28, 2015

Source: Atlanta CityBizList

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Sionic Mobile, a mobile commerce leader with small-medium business merchants, today announced Johnny Pitts as its Chief Quality Assurance (QA) Manager. Pitts is partnering with the Company’s internal app development team to create innovative ways to automate and expand app testing, compile and present test results and ultimately improve product quality.

“Johnny is a clear standout among QA professionals,” said Spencer White, COO of Sionic Mobile. “His professionalism and relentless focus on detail create an ideal environment for constant improvement in the quality of our apps, software and service.”

Most recently, Pitts was responsible for managing the Digital Media Initiatives and ORION projects for Turner Broadcasting Systems, in addition to overseeing day to day testing activities and end-user support. His previous experience also includes ensuring software quality assurance in the application, functional, non-functional, back-end, web, client, mobile, regression, user acceptance and automated testing areas.

“As a market leader,” continued White, “we remain focused on mobile loyalty and payment solutions that fuse convenience and security with instant reward, resulting in a superior consumer experience. With our upcoming, fourth generation release of ION Rewards, Johnny will be instrumental in ensuring we exceed consumer and merchant expectations.”

ION Rewards app users earn instant rewards when paying for purchases with their iOS or Android smartphones at more than 50,000 retail and restaurant locations nationwide. Visit IONrewards.com to learn more.

About Sionic Mobile
Midtown Atlanta-based Sionic Mobile helps small-medium business merchants get and keep mobile savvy customers by uniting mobile ads, loyalty rewards, eGift cards, and mobile payments in a simple, affordable service and provides nonprofit organizations an always-on mobile fundraising tool. The Company’s free ION Rewards and Shop2Give apps for iOS and Android make mobile payments at more than 50,000 locations nationwide simple, secure and rewarding for consumers and supporters alike.

Sionic Mobile Taps Softcard Co-Founder, Spencer White, as Chief Operating Officer

BY: Business Wire April 14, 2015 10:33 AM EST

Source: Business Wire

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ATLANTA–Sionic Mobile, a mobile commerce leader, today announced serial innovator and evangelist of emerging mobile payments and commerce, Spencer White, has joined the company as Chief Operating Officer (COO) and EVP Business Development. With more than 25 years experience, White co-founded Softcard (the AT&T, Verizon and T-Mobile mobile wallet joint venture – formerly Isis) whose technology was recently purchased by Google. Prior to Softcard, White served as Director of Mobile Financial Services for AT&T, leading the company’s strategy and product efforts. White will leverage the Company’s enterprise-grade, ION mobile loyalty and payments platform in forging strategic alliances and white label partnerships to accelerate widespread adoption across multiple channels.

“I followed Softcard closely and was thrilled to connect with Spencer as a like-minded executive in this fast-moving space,” said Ronald Herman, CEO of Sionic Mobile. “We have a unique and rare opportunity,” continued Herman, “to fuse our 50-plus years of combined experience in Fortune 100 and startup mobile ventures, outpace competitors and quickly grow a best-in-industry business.”

Small and medium-sized business (SMB) merchants use ION Loyalty’s mobile ads, gift cards payments and rewards to increase foot traffic and high-margin sales and get good customers back more often. Mobile-savvy consumers earn 2% instantly for paying with the ION Rewards app at more than 50,000 retail and restaurant locations nationwide and earn bonus IONs for purchasing merchant-promoted items.

“Sionic Mobile is doing what so many other companies only aspire to do,” White explained. “The company has created a powerful platform for both retail and digital commerce that elegantly and deftly combines a simple, high value consumer experience with a sophisticated solution for merchants to attract customers and build profitable, durable and trusted relationships with them. The test of any mobile commerce solution is its ability to drive consumer behaviors and habits. Leading with a strong loyalty proposition, rather than centering on payments or advertising, Sionic Mobile is well positioned to win big with both consumers and merchants.”

Named by CNET as one of the premier leaders in the payments industry, White’s visionary and progressive approach has been instrumental in propelling the mobile payments industry forward. To cite a few accomplishments, White is credited with launching the nation’s first multi-bank mobile banking application while at AT&T and is recognized for his leadership role in executing ground-breaking near-field communication (NFC) consumer payment trials. He holds leadership positions in multiple organizations, encouraging and establishing cross-industry collaboration between all parties holding a vested interest in the mobile payments ecosystem. Additionally, he launched the first direct-to-consumer and third party e-commerce channels for Philips Consumer Electronics.

About Sionic Mobile
Midtown Atlanta-based Sionic Mobile helps small and medium sized merchants get and keep mobile savvy customers by uniting mobile ads, gift cards, payments and rewards in a simple, affordable service and provides non-profit organizations an always-on mobile fundraising tool. The Company’s ION RewardsⓇ and Shop2GiveⓇ free apps for iOS and Android make mobile payments at more than 50,000 locations nationwide simple, secure and rewarding for consumers and supporters alike.

Contacts For Sionic Mobile
Anna Stanley, 678-781-3072
anna@williammills.com

or

Kathryn Farmer, 678-781-7208
kathryn@williammills.com

Sionic Mobile Adds Three New Staff Members to Creative and Development Teams

BY: Atlanta CityBizList 3/24/15

Source: Atlanta CityBizList

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Sionic Mobile, a mobile commerce leader, today announced the addition of three new staff members: Steven Jenner, senior art director, Thomas Chwang, senior android developer and Kenyatta (Kaye) McAfee, client support specialist. All three team members are based out of the company’s Midtown headquarters and will be instrumental in the upcoming launch of the fourth generation of ION Rewards, the company’s proprietary mobile payments, mobile loyalty app.

“We are pleased to welcome Steven, Thomas and Kaye to the Sionic Mobile team,” said Ronald Herman, CEO and founder of Sionic Mobile. “As we near the much anticipated release of our fourth-generation ION platform, our newest team members ensure we continue to meet the growing market demand. This is a pivotal point in the mobile payments industry, and an exciting time within our company. I am proud of the accomplishments our team has achieved to date, and look forward to our future success.”

In his role as senior art director, Jenner is responsible for steering the design direction, features and functionality of Sionic Mobile’s consumer-facing mobile apps. His graphic design expertise and UX design experience were pivotal in the recent launch of the nonprofit, mobile fundraising app, Shop2Give, and in preparing for the pending release of an all-new ION Rewards app. Working with the vice president of marketing, Jenner will also be responsible for developing marketing collateral, product design, as well as both consumer and merchant-facing materials.

Chwang recently relocated from the West Coast to lead Sionic Mobile’s Android development team. He and his team are responsible for the design and deployment of the Android versions of ION Rewards and Shop2Give mobile apps. Chwang reports directly to the vice president of development.

As a client support specialist, McAfee is a key administrator in Sionic Mobile’s expanding operations division and a primary liaison between the company, merchants, nonprofits and consumers. Reporting directly to the vice president of operations, McAfee is also responsible for supporting the Company’s digital gift card relationships.
Currently, ION Rewards users can pay for purchases using their mobile device at more than 50,000 retail and restaurant locations nationwide. The ION Rewards app supports iOS and most Android devices. Visit www.IONrewards.com to learn more.

About Sionic Mobile
Midtown Atlanta-based Sionic Mobile helps small and medium sized merchants get and keep mobile savvy customers by uniting mobile ads, gift cards, payments and rewards in a simple, affordable service and provides non-profit organizations an always-on mobile fundraising tool. The Company’s ION Rewards and Shop2Give apps make mobile payments at more than 50,000 locations nationwide simple, secure and rewarding for consumers and supporters alike. Both apps support iOS and most Android devices.

Shop2Give featured in Simply Buckhead’s Local Salute column

BY: RON HERMAN DECEMBER 2014

Source: Simply Buckhead

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Our CEO, Ron Herman, is featured in the December 2014 issue of Simply Buckhead. He describes how you can support your favorite non-profits without spending a dime using the Shop2Give app. Here’s the clipping:

SIMPLY-BUCKHEAD

You can read the full issue here:

Sionic Mobile’s ION Rewards and Shop2Give Apps to Leverage Facial Recognition Technology by AuthenticID

BY: Sionic Mobile February 25, 2015

Source: Sionic Mobile

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Sionic Mobile, a mobile commerce leader, today announced it has partnered with AuthenticID, a leading technology company specializing in identity authentication solutions, to integrate catfishAir into both upcoming versions of ION Rewards and Shop2Give consumer apps. On release, both apps will be first to protect consumers using facial recognition for identity authentication during account setup.

Biometric technology has been used for decades as a reliable and accurate individual identification tool by using behavioral and physiological traits for personal identification. Two people cannot have the same unique biometrics, even identical twins. Together, Sionic Mobile and AuthenticID are incorporating this same identification tool (biometric facial recognition) into the ION Rewards and Shop2Give apps to ensure each user is verified, and he or she is who they say they are.

“With the growing number of attacks from increasingly sophisticated fraudsters, it is no surprise that security remains the number one cited reason consumers are reluctant to use mobile payments to complete purchases,” said Ronald Herman, CEO and founder of Sionic Mobile. “Mobile payments, in the long run, can only be secure if there is a strong authentication mechanism in place. We must be able to bind the identity of the user to the authorization of the transaction.”

“We take these security concerns seriously, and in response, we’ve added yet another layer of security to our existing 15-point fraud detection system. Biometric facial recognition technology validates the identity of every one of our app users ensuring the integrity of each transaction. As a result of our aggressive security measures, ION Rewards and Shop2Give are the only apps featuring mobile payments that guarantee good funds to merchants and nonprofits by eliminating chargebacks and returns.”

Authentication is fast and easy. On sign-in, users select the “Verified Account” feature and are asked to present a state-issued driver’s license. Users hold their phones over the ID briefly, flip to the back when prompted, then hold the phone for an automated selfie. The catfishAir cloud software then automatically verifies and confirms users’ identities.

“We are pleased to partner with Sionic Mobile in launching the industry’s first apps featuring mobile payments that uses facial recognition biometrics to authenticate users,” said Blair Cohen, CEO of Authentic ID. “A recent mobile payments and fraud survey conducted by CNP found that 32 percent of merchants believe fraud prevention specific to mobile is necessary, and view mobile as riskier than standard e-commerce transactions. Sionic Mobile’s comprehensive approach to security and fraud detection is one of the most aggressive stances we’ve seen in the mobile industry. Joining forces with a company that shares our commitment to using innovative technology to stop fraudsters was paramount in our decision.”

About Sionic Mobile

Midtown Atlanta-based Sionic Mobile helps small and medium sized merchants get and keep mobile savvy customers by uniting mobile ads, gift cards, payments and rewards in a simple, affordable service and provides non-profit organizations an always-on mobile fundraising tool. The Company’s ION Rewards and Shop2Give apps make mobile payments at 50,000 locations nationwide simple, secure and rewarding for consumers and supporters alike. Both apps support iOS and most Android devices.

About AuthenticID
Atlanta-based AuthenticID (http://authenticid.co) is a technology company specializing in providing identity authentication tools designed specifically for the face-to-face and online channels of commerce. The company provides the only 100% accurate identity authentication solutions which detect and stop ID fraud in real-time via its direct access to government datasets. In addition, their cloud-enabled document authentication solution validates government issued ID documents worldwide. Founded by the leading identity expert, Blair Cohen, AuthenticID presently is selecting leading corporations in numerous vertical markets to pilot their technology.

– Mobile commerce provider adds Automated Forensic Document Authentication to existing proprietary 15-point fraud detection system–

TWEET THIS: http://ctt.ec/jmqOZ

MEDIA CONTACTS:

Anna Stanley
For Sionic Mobile
678.781.3072

anna@williammills.com

Kathryn Farmer
For Sionic Mobile
678.781.7208

kathryn@williammills.com

Blair Cohen
For AuthenticID
855.825.4343 ext.101

cbcohen@gmail.com

Sionic Mobile Releases Nonprofit Donations App – Payments Source

BY: JACOB PASSY FEB 10, 2015 4:31pm ET

Source: Payments Source

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Sionic Mobile, an Atlanta-based mobile commerce company, released its Shop2Give app to the public today. The new app is designed to enable nonprofits to raise funds through consumers’ mobile payment activity.

The Shop2Give app allows users to make secure purchases at retail locations, with 2% of every purchase donated to a nonprofit, Sionic Mobile stated in a release. Users can also donate to the nonprofit directly.

Nonprofits will have access to the funds generated through the app within two days. Sionic charges a 1% flat processing fee per transaction.

The app is supported by more than 50,000 retail locations, including major retailers Barnes & Noble, JCPenney and Banana Republic. Restaurant chains such as Papa Johns and Burger King will also participate.

Sionic Mobile made the app available to some early adopters, including medical research nonprofit Enduring Hearts, last year. Currently, the app is available only on Apple devices. The company said a version for Android-based devices is in the works.

Sionic Mobile Unveils Shop2Give® Mobile Fundraising App for Non-profit Organizations

BY: Business Wire February 10, 2015 09:18AM EST

Source: Business Wire

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ATLANTA–Sionic Mobile, a mobile commerce leader, today announced the availability of its free Shop2Give app, helping non-profit organizations meet or exceed their fundraising goals with a simple, mobile experience. The first-of-its-kind app was designed for non-profits to stay engaged with supporters as they shop or dine at their favorite places and increase donations at no extra cost.

“Shop2Give eliminates these obstacles, providing organizations immediate access to a mobile app including mobile payments and one-tap donations, as well as the ability to customize the user experience to align with the non-profit’s brand and mission.”

Atlanta-based Enduring Hearts is one of the early adopters of the Shop2Give mobile donations tool. “By enabling mobile donations, the Shop2Give app will be instrumental in our fundraising efforts and in growing our supporter base,” said Patrick Gahan, president of Enduring Hearts. “Giving supporters the ability to donate directly from their mobile phone, and support our cause while making everyday purchases increases our ability to fund future research. Equally as important, being able to customize the app with the Enduring Hearts brand and generate campaigns that are specific to our needs not only deepens relationships with existing donors, but it also attracts the next generation of supporters.”

With the Shop2Give app, supporters can conveniently and securely use their smartphone to make purchases at more than 50,000 retail locations, or online at no extra charge to the consumer or the non-profit, and the non-profit automatically receives two percent of every checkout. Additionally, supporters can donate any amount at any time directly from their mobile device.

“Lack of resources, time and funding are the most common barriers preventing the majority of non-profits from leveraging the mobile channel to increase fundraising and engage supporters,” said Ronald Herman, CEO and founder of Sionic Mobile. “Shop2Give eliminates these obstacles, providing organizations immediate access to a mobile app including mobile payments and one-tap donations, as well as the ability to customize the user experience to align with the non-profit’s brand and mission.”

Using the new Shop2Give app, non-profit organizations can offer supporters simple and convenient ways to give, resulting in more dynamic campaigns and a much richer end-user experience. Shop2Give is currently available for download on iOS devices from the App Store, with an Android version coming soon. For an online shopping reminder, get the Chrome browser extension. Other browser extensions are on the way too.

About Sionic Mobile

Midtown Atlanta-based Sionic Mobile helps small and medium sized merchants get and keep mobile savvy customers by uniting mobile ads, gift cards, payments and rewards in a simple, affordable service and provides non-profit organizations an always-on mobile fundraising tool. The Company’s ION Rewards and Shop2Give apps make mobile payments at 50,000 locations nationwide simple, secure and rewarding for consumers and supporters alike. Both apps support iOS and most Android devices.

Editor’s Note

To use the new non-profit app:

  • Download the free Shop2Give app and sign-in with your Facebook or Google+ account.
  • Enter the first three letters of the non-profit that you are supporting, then select from a drop-down list.
  • Link a credit/debit card to make direct donations and pay with the app at merchants.

TWEET THIS: http://ctt.ec/lho72

Contacts

For Sionic Mobile
Anna Stanley, 678-781-3072
anna@williammills.com
or
Kathryn Farmer, 678-781-7208
kathryn@williammills.com

Sionic Mobile Reaches 50,000 Retail and Restaurant Location Milestone

BY: Business Wire January 28, 2015 11:45AM EST

Source: Business Wire

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ATLANTA–Sionic Mobile, a mobile commerce leader, today announced a significant growth milestone — its collection of 50,000 diverse shops, restaurants and retail locations nationwide where consumers can pay with a Sionic Mobile app on their smartphones and tablets. From Sunday morning pancakes to weekday lunches and Saturday home improvement projects, Sionic Mobile merchants offer more variety than any other mobile payments and rewards provider.

“Despite the growing hype surrounding mobile payments week after week, consumer adoption continues to lag and fall short of industry projections”

According to a report issued in October 2014 by eMarketer, mobile payments adoption is expected to increase by 700 percent within the next two years. Accenture reported that more than 60 percent of consumers indicated rewards and discount programs would incent them to begin using or increase their current usage of mobile payments.

Sionic Mobile is preparing two new consumer app releases in the coming weeks. First, an all-new Shop2Give® app giving non-profits their own branded mobile fundraising experience. Supporters shop or dine at any of the 50,000 locations, pay with the Shop2Give app and Sionic Mobile donates 2% of their checkouts at no extra cost to them or their non-profits. Supporters also use the app to make instant, one-tap donations to their favorite non-profit at any time. Next, a fourth-generation ION Rewards® app featuring facial recognition identity theft protection and fraud prevention, fast and easy pay-at-the-pump and automated 3% rewards that spend like cash at any of the 50,000 locations.

“Despite the growing hype surrounding mobile payments week after week, consumer adoption continues to lag and fall short of industry projections,” said Ronald Herman, CEO and founder of Sionic Mobile. “The majority of apps today provide little-to-no incentive for consumers to pay for purchases with their phone. Those that do, like coffee shop and quick serve apps, require that customers preload funds that may only be used at their locations, forcing consumers to manage multiple, mini-wallets on their phones.”

“By putting consumers in control of their experience,” explained Herman, “continuing to grow the 50,000 strong merchant marketplace and providing small and medium sized businesses affordable access to mobile ads, gift cards, payments and rewards, Sionic Mobile is eliminating the current challenges hindering mobile payment adoption.”

About Sionic Mobile

Midtown Atlanta-based Sionic Mobile helps small and medium sized merchants get and keep mobile savvy customers by uniting mobile ads, gift cards, payments and rewards in a simple, affordable service and provides non-profit organizations an always-on mobile fundraising tool. The Company’s ION Rewards and Shop2Give apps make mobile payments at 50,000 locations nationwide simple, secure and rewarding for consumers and supporters alike. Both apps support iOS and most Android devices.

Contacts

For Sionic Mobile
Anna Stanley, 678-781-3072
anna@williammills.com
or
Kathryn Farmer, 678-781-7208
kathryn@williammills.com

Sionic Mobile is a Midtown Loyalist – hypepotamus

BY: TRICIA WHITLOCK DECEMBER 11, 2014

Source: Hypepotamus

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Sionic Mobile is the creator and provider of ION, the first fully-digital/mobile promotion, gift card, payment and rewards app for phones and tablets. In a nutshell, Sionic’s application reduces credit card processing fees and rewards loyal customers based on what they spend.

This Midtown based company (a stone’s throw from Georgia Tech) has launched Midtown Loyal, a mobile rewards & payments initiative for local merchants. Midtown merchants can use Midtown Loyal to create compelling promotions for nearby smartphone consumers, accept secure mobile payments and reward customers instantly through a points-based system. The best part? The merchants and customers can take part for free.

How does this benefit consumers? 

  • Checkouts at every ION merchant (40,000 retailers nationwide) earn users instant points they can spend like cash on anything at anytime. No fees, restrictions, or expiration dates.
  • Earn 1% rewards on all Google Wallet, Visa Checkout and credit/debit card payments on top of the card rewards program.
  • Customers can share IONs, send gift cards and connect with friends using the app.
  • The free apps support iOS and most Android devices.

How does this benefit business? 

  • Merchants can utilize mobile devices, Bluetooth® beacons and the cloud to connect with nearby consumers.
  • The ION Loyalty app adds value to a brand through cumulative shopper rewards received at checkout.
  • Keep payment processing fees down with ION Loyalty on a tablet or phone at point-of-purchase: just 2.75% for Google Wallet, Visa Checkout, or credit/debit card payments.
  • Manage promotions, accept payments, and confirm rewards on a tablet or smartphone at checkout. The technology works alongside any existing POS system, requires no upfront cost or additional equipment and typically may be setup in 30 minutes or less.
  • No start-up or monthly fees.

Why Midtown for the Promotion?

Ronald Herman, CEO and founder of Sionic Mobile, shared with Hypepotamus that he wants “Midtown to be recognized as the leader in mobile commerce… and for our innovation accomplishments.”

In the press release on the launch of Midtown Loyal, Herman also commented that “Midtown Atlanta is home to many leading finance and mobile technology companies and is quickly gaining a reputation as ‘Innovation Central’ in the U.S. market.  We want to help further elevate Midtown Atlanta by connecting more merchants with more consumers through mobile devices than any other geography in the country.”

Kevin Green, CEO and president of Midtown Alliance, added that “given Midtown’s young and tech savvy workforce and residents and concentration of restaurants, arts and culture, retail and entertainment venues, we believe Midtown is  the perfect location to test drive Sionic Mobile’s new rewards and payments initiative.”

The Sionic Mobile Story

The Start:
Herman and a small team spun Sionic from Intellione Technologies (now Urban Informatics), a decade old company that was focused on turning cell location data into patterns of movement, specifically dealing in transportation. In 2008 Intellione launched their first smart phone application on BlackBerry and three years later they were acquired by Intelligent Mechatronic Systems. In Feb through May of 2010 Herman and his team decided to learn from what they had built at Intellione and  focus on starting and scaling Sionic Mobile.

The Differentiatior: 
Sionic has a unique “Robin Hood” approach by making “room in the flow of money.” They are saving both consumers and merchants money, not creating additional costs. All other applications only do payments, loyalty, or giftcards, but not all three. Their closest competition is PayPal but, Herman sees their business model as “a bit upside down.”

The problem is the majority of these apps are based upon upside-down business models that do not have consumers’ best interests in mind, resulting in a subpar user experience and low adoption rates. Our goal has always been to provide ION Rewards users with a fast, intuitive and rewarding checkout experience.- Herman

Although Herman doesn’t label Sionic a “social enterprise,” the company does have a civic-minded/do-gooder heart.  Their Shop2Give offering helps nonprofits hit their fundraising goals by providing them with social tools and merchant partners to collect donations. Also, they focus on hiring and training bright, yet under served and under educated folks. This garners Sionic a malleable and loyal workforce, and in turn provides their employees with a strong income and a blossoming technology skill set.

Why Atlanta?
Herman originally chose to set up Sionic in Atlanta because AT&T was based here. He had a former board member that worked for AT&T and had strong roots in the area. He has stayed because of the proximity to Georgia Tech and the opportunities and talent it has to offer.

The Funding:
Sionic has raised $8mm in private funding (not venture) and has closed the first $2mm of a total $10mm Series B from strategic investors.

[Photo Credit]

Pinnacle-Sionic Mobile Payment Platform – Convenience Store News

BY: Staff Nov 26, 2014 10:06AM EST

Source: Convenience Store

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The Pinnacle Corp. and Sionic Mobile teamed up to launch a mobile loyalty and payment platform for fuel retailers. The combined solution can leverage Bluetooth beacons inside the store and at pump islands to facilitate cloud-based rewards for smartphone customers. According to the companies, customers can pay for fuel with just a few taps on their phone, and Bluetooth can provide fully encrypted and tokenized mobile payments.

See more

Atlanta’s Midtown merchants enlist beacons for mobile loyalty program

BY: Caitlyn Bohannon November 20, 2014

Source: Mobile Commerce Daily

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A handful of merchants located in Atlanta’s Midtown district are participating in a new beacon-based mobile rewards and payments program to meet the needs of the neighborhood’s young, tech-savvy residents.

Sionic Mobile is powering the launch of Midtown Loyal. By leveraging Sionic Mobile’s Ion Loyalty and Rewards apps, Midtown Loyal merchants can create their own promotions, reward customers and accept mobile payments.

“Midtown Atlanta is home to many leading finance and mobile technology companies and is quickly gaining a reputation as Innovation Central in the U.S. market,” said Ronald Herman, CEO and founder of Sionic Mobile. “We want to help further elevate Midtown Atlanta by connecting more merchants with more consumers through mobile devices than any other geography in the country.”

Driving business
Sionic Mobile believes Midtown Atlanta is the perfect location to test its new rewards and payments initiative.

An early adopter of the program is Zocalo Mexican Kitchen and Cantina, located at the intersection of 10thStreet and Piedmont Avenue.

In the coming months, Midtown residents and visitors will be able to download and use the Ion Rewards app to view promotions from Zocalo, pay their bill through the app and receive rewards based on the amount of their bill.

When users earn rewards, they are delivered in the form of Ions. Sionic Mobile’s Ions can be spent like cash at participating merchants. These rewards never expire.

The technology works alongside any existing POS system and requires no upfront cost or additional equipment. Sionic Mobile believes the system can be set up in 30 minutes or less.

The Woodruff Art Center and Mystic Lotus Salon are a couple other merchants that have signed on to the program. Sionic Mobile expects 200-300 total Midtown merchants will enroll between now and Dec. 5.

Local business owners interested in participating can register at MerchantCenter.IonLoyalty.com.

Beacons on the rise
Retailers of large scale are starting to deploy beacons more extensively.

Following a successful pilot of iBeacon technology, Hudson’s Bay Co. will be rolling out the program to 50 Lord & Taylor stores in the United States and 90 Hudson’s Bay locations in Canada by the end of the month.

Lord & Taylor and Hudson’s Bay rolled out iBeacons to 10 stores this summer to engage shoppers with content and offers on a hyper-local basis and with results to date exceeding expectations, the retailer is looking to bring the program to more stores before the holiday shopping season kicks into high gear.  The move follows Macy’s expansion of its beacon-enabled program with shopkick in September and Urban Outfitters’ recent launch into beacon marketing (see story).

An increasing number of retailers are already using beacons, according to a recent Adobe report.

In a reflection of how quickly marketers have embraced beacon technology, 18 percent report that they are using beacons today in tests or active deployments, according to new research from Adobe.

Beacons and location awareness are adding another dimension to in-store digitization, with high expectations for their impact this holiday season. The research found that 55 percent of consumers find it useful to receive promotions on their mobile device while in a physical store (see story).

Final Take
Caitlyn Bohannon is an editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York