By now, everyone has seen a QR Code…
those little square dots arranged in a seemingly haphazard pattern against a square white background–as they seem to be cropping up in some of the strangest places. Whether they’re on a real estate ad, a coffee cup, or splattered across the front of a t-shirt, the QR Code is gaining ground the globe over.
And it is not surprising that start-up companies continue to form with the hopes of cashing in on this two-dimensional barcode’s versatility and popularity. While some detractors say that QR Codes have reached their plateau, there is compelling evidence to the contrary.
Exhibit A: Scan
Garret Gee’s start-up, Scan, recently received an enormous financial shot in the arm–and it wasn’t even looking for one. A London investor found Gee’s profile on AngelList, phoned him, and offered him a cool $5 million dollars without ever meeting him face-to-face.
Scan currently has over 175,000 business clients that generate over 500,000 codes each month. These codes serve as marketing tools for companies who want to encourage mobile phone users to scan their particular QR codes in order to take a survey, follow the company on a social media platform, or watch a video. Scan does, however, plan to take QR codes in a whole new direction.
Scan’s recent announcement regarding the introduction of “Scan to Pay” could change how we shop. Retail products would be equipped with unique QR codes, enabling customers to simply scan them and enter a pin number to pay–bringing together traditional retail and the online world in a novel way.
Exhibit B: Visualead
Just a few short months ago, a QR Code start-up took home top honors in the Growth Stage Competition at Beijing’s Global Mobile Internet Conference. Visualead, a new company that opened its doors in January, 2013, offers an attractive alternative to traditional unsightly codes, better enabling its clientele to attract and engage users.
Already boasting 200,000 business customers, Visualead continues to experience 100% growth each month. And they now have their eyes set on China and its massive consumer audience.
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Exhibit C: Expander
Start-up QR code company, Expander, is taking a novel approach to utilizing QR codes. They plan to help companies, particularly food exporters, wage a battle against counterfeiting. How does it work? Simple. Expander prints the code on the packaging and when it is scanned, the exporters are able to obtain real time info including who is using it, where, and when–providing them with comprehensive data on their products’ journey.
It seems that the Angels of Wellington have faith in Expander’s endeavors as they invested $500,000.
Exhibit D: QRtie
It turns out that the QR Code also has possible applications in the fashion world. A Los Angeles start-up company, QRtie, recently kicked off is Kickstarter project in hopes of raising $40,000. What, exactly, does QR tie have in mind? They are hoping to convince the neck-tie wearing segment of the population to ditch their traditional paper business cards in favor of what they believe could be a hot new trend–QR Code-bearing ties. Yup, forget brandishing your business card. Instead, invite new contacts to scan your tie and visit your website.
The QR Code may change and evolve, but no matter what forms it takes, it appears to be here to stay. As clever creators figure out new ways to use this multipurpose code, new start-ups will continue to be born. And QR Code start-ups are bound to remain the hottest thing in town.
Would you wear or be seen with someone wearing a QR Code tie?
Kimberley Laws is a freelance writer and avid blogger. She has written on a number of topics including online reputation management, how QR codes can benefit autistic children, and tools for taking mobile payments. You can follow her at kimberleylaws.com.
Image courtesy of photos.com.