The adage, “Nothing in life is free,” might get turned on its head by a new, mobile app in town that’s making people rethink hat statement. The Claim it! app, which launched almost a year ago, offers free giveaways to users in exchange for watching a 15-second video advertisement. Prizes range from Beats by Dre headphones, AMC movie theater tickets, restaurant gift cards, Nike and Air Jordan footwear, designer handbags and tons more free swag.
Those who download the app will have endless opportunities to claim thousands of items, ranging in price from $10 to $599. The winners will be selected randomly each week and will be announced every Sunday.
The awesome Claim it! app was programmed by Ali Abudullah, who envisioned the idea during a time when he was homeless. Those unfortunate struggles are far behind him and now he is creating hope for the next generation of software engineers.
Abudullah spoke with rolling out to discuss his technological influence, the process for launching the app, and how he gives back to the youth through computer courses.
How did you come up with your company’s concept?
I came up with the concept in 2008 during a period of time in which I was experiencing homelessness. Luckily, I was skilled in writing software and programming. I saw the rise of Groupon, Living Social and many other successful Web applications taking off, which made me realize I had nothing to lose. I figured my disadvantage would be not having the resources to build my network, but I knew I had the skill sets to get the job done. I wanted to do something that had not been done before. My inspiration rooted from a time when I worked for The United States Department of Education. I had established relationships with various brands. I would reach out to them and let them know that we were having an event for a marketing opportunity. They would send me their product and I would sell it to the stores. This was all happening during the time I did not have a place to live. I shared my idea with a couple of folks and began launching my app in 2009.
What is the purpose of the Claim it! app?
It is a product giveaway platform where we offer brands a simple way to connect with locals driven by free stuff. Our proximity based offers allow consumers to use everything in private at a “Claim it” truck, retail location and more. All the users have to do is download the 15-second app.
How did you get funding for your business?
Over the past five years, I’ve had mentors and advisors counsel me. I didn’t have friends and family who were able to cut checks, so I knew I would have to go out and prove myself. I developed relationships with some very wealthy individuals and they believed in me and my pedigree.
How many people are on your team?
Claim It! was co-founded by myself, Kaza Razat and Khalid Mills. It was founded by the three of us and now we have 11 people total working on our team. We have 14 investors and are currently raising a new round of $3 million for product support and engineering.
What is your technological background?
I have been a software developer since I was a junior in high school. I attended Alfred State College and Columbia University. I grew up in Harlem, New York, which is currently where I reside and work. Our office headquarters is located there as well.
What are you doing to give back to kids who are pursuing a technology career?
I give back through the product we give out via our app. We believe that giving away the free products provides hope for everyone and puts smiles on people’s faces. I spend time with the youth by teaching computer programming. I have taught the subject to college students all the way down to middle school children. I know where I come from, so I know it is important to give back to those who are where I was years ago.