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Gamification is the hot buzzword these days. And Seattle startup Bobber Interactive is looking to capitalize on the trend, bringing game mechanics to the world of personal finance. The company — led by Eric Eastman, John Bito and Scott Dodson — today announced that it closed a first round of funding, with participation from Peak6 Investments and Dove Capital. The company plans to integrate with Facebook in the coming months, and also is testing a pre-paid card concept with Plastyc.

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Bobber provides young adults an innovative FDIC‐insured payment and savings platform that combines social media and game psychology to drive user acquisition, engagement and retention. The company is targeting the 30 million Gen Y consumers who play social games on Facebook in the U.S. and represent $200 billion in annual discretionary income. Facebook is considered the biggest marketing opportunity facing the financial services industry, with 90% of financial institutions dedicating marketing budgets to social media going forward. Bobber will also drive opt‐in lead generation for financial institutions.

The 5-person company didn’t disclose how much it raised, but a filing with the SEC indicates that Bobber pulled in $1.1 million of a $2 million round.

Dodson tells GeekWire that the service is not utilizing Facebook Connect, instead “living as a financial app on Facebook.” That seems a little scary, but Dodson says no financial data will actually reside within the social networking service.

Bringing game concepts to personal finance could make the experience more fun and engaging for young adults, said Eastman.

“First and foremost, it is a financial tool,” explains Eastman. “We are just engaging and acquiring users basically in the language they speak. This is not a game per se, but we are really looking to game mechanics and social media to really drive that level of acquisition.”

John Cook is co-founder of GeekWire. Follow on Twitter: @geekwirenews.

 

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