Claim It! app college tour to visit UK campus Nov. 1


Infographic on the Claim It! college tour.

Fans of free stuff, listen up. Claim It!, an app that lets users and brands give away and get free goods, is making a visit to UK’s campus Wednesday as part of a college tour, with plans to include special giveaways in person and free offers in Lexington through the app.

Students will have the chance to get items like Starbucks gift cards, products from The Honest Company and Mielle Organics, and more.

Claim It! CEO and founder Ali Abdullah describes the app as a social marketplace, with the key differences between it and other deal-based apps like Groupon being that listings can be placed by anyone just by posting a photo and a description, as well as the fact that users won’t have to pay a thing for using the app.

The inspiration from the app came from a time where Abdullah found himself without enough money to keep a roof over his head. After reading a book by one of the founders of Groupon, he thought about how sustainable an app that didn’t rely on pre-paying for deals would be.

“I knew that discounts were good, but free is better,” Abdullah said. “If we could build a platform to essentially incentivize people where they could actually make money, create a buzz, drive traffic, that would be much more compelling.”

Leveraging the knowledge he’d gained from a thesis he wrote at MIT, Abdullah knew he had a good idea on his hands, but figured the company still needed a way to show the public that when it said “free,” it meant it — and so, the Claim It! truck was born.

Since then, the company’s seen significant growth, earning $2 million in venture capital funding, a nod on Apple’s TV series Planet of the Apps, and coverage in publications like The Next Web and Mashable, who called the service “the next Instagram.”

Currently, the app is available on both the App Store and Google Play, but the August relaunch of the app only saw an update to the iPhone version. Users on Android might have trouble getting the current version to work due to a problem with the phone number signup process, but according to Abdullah, the company’s working on it.

“It’s our top priority to make sure that we can please everyone,” he said. “Being on this tour has been exciting because we get to meet faces from around the country, but we’ve met people that have both iPhones and Androids, and generally the experience has been that Android users miss out on it.”

An update bringing the Android version up to speed should be available within the coming months. The company also plans to introduce video listings and the ability to buy and sell items to the app down the line, but for the moment, it’s focusing on the core service of giving and getting stuff for free.

As for the truck and its travels, the company keeps it in regular use throughout the country, and also plans to integrate it more deeply with the app by letting brands and small businesses rent it for their own promotions.

“We’re thrilled to come to UK,” Abdullah said.

The Claim It! truck will be open from 11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 1. Information on the truck’s location will be announced on the app’s Twitter and Instagram accounts.