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The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Chico State's independent student newspaper

The Orion

Pocket points strives to keep company in Chico

The Pocket Points team at a company dinner. Photo courtesy of Mitch Gardener
The Pocket Points team at a company dinner. Photo courtesy of Mitch Gardener

When one thinks of Chico state, they usually conjure up images of the crazy 80’s parties that gave the school a bit of a reputation and now causes a headache for every student at Christmas.

In the last year, however, the growth of an app that incentivizes students to stay off their phones in exchange for discounts at local eateries has given Chico a new claim to fame.

The app Pocket Points was thought up by Chico State students, created with the help of Chico State professors, and initially launched only at Chico State.

It is safe to say the company is as local as it gets, and the company’s founders, Mitch Gardner and Rob Richardson, want to keep it that way.

“Everyone that works for us either went to Chico state or came from Chico so we’ve got Chico blood,” says Richardson, “We all came out of Chico State so we know its quality.”

The company is now hiring after 2 years of solid growth and expansion due to its college appeal.

“It’s a no brainer,” laughs Gardner, “Why would you not want to use an app where you can go and literally get free food at some of the best spots around campus?”

Back in 2014 when the app finally went live, the founders and Sigma Chi fraternity brothers had doubts that the app would ever gain traction outside of their friend group.

A few days after the app was launched at Chico State, the pair were promoting the app in a class when they had a reassuring discovery.

“We were talking to the class just trying to get people to download it for the first or second day and we asked if anyone had heard of pocket points,” says Gardner, “This random guy in the back, we had no idea who he was, already knew about it he was already super into it trying to get a free pizza or something.”

The popularity at Chico State was the beginning of a whirlwind year for the company. There was a huge bump in download activity and the pair knew they were onto something good. The app now has a presence at colleges from as close as San Louis Obispo to as far as Brooklyn.

The pair still has big plans for the company, which is based out of downtown Chico right across from Tres Hombres.

“We have a hit list of schools that we haven’t been able to launch at that are still are really significant in the size of the school, enrollment, sports, things like that,” says Richardson, “We definitely want to be able to launch into as many schools as we can as soon as we can, but we are also trying to get into other markets like high schools.”

The company is continuing to grow locally, seeking to add 5 people to it’s staff by the middle of summer.

“Everyone’s young and energetic and works really hard,” says Gardner, “It’s been really fun to build the business.”

“Were just trying to hire the right people and give everyone the opportunity to potentially work and grow with us,” concludes Richardson

Visit the Pocket Points website for information regarding open positions.

Amelia Storm can be reached at [email protected] or @amelia__storm on Twitter

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