Portland startup Byngo marries sustainability with gaming
By Lee van der Voo
Sustainable Business Oregon contributing writer
Byngo's messages are designed to capture the attention of college students. Click through to see other examples from the company's launch campaign.
Lewis & Clark College is among several colleges and companies teaming with software startup Byngo to test-drive the Portland-based company's new cloud gaming software this week.
Despite its name, the game isn't about marking rows of numbers and letters with ink pens, nor is its online community a tell for collecting weapons, dodging alligators and rescuing the princess.
It's instead a platform for community competitions intended to drive down energy use, garbage consumption and CO2 emissions and help participants meet other environmental sustainability goals. It fits into the growing tech category of "gamifcation," the trend of solving problems and changing behavior through game play.
Designed for college campuses, cooperate campuses, or any other community in which members want to reach a goal or change behavior, it can be played online or through a smart phone app. Players create profiles, self-report their real-world activities and are ascribed points according to the efforts they make toward conservation.
Byngo president Cosmos Corbin says the company is one of several birthed by the Corbin family, which is heavily involved in the renewable energy and energy conservation industry. Corbin's stepfather, David Parker founded Advanced Energy Systems of Eugene, a solar installer that worked on Oregon's solar highway project. Deck Monitoring, a service that displays energy use online in real time for clients, was also started by the family.
Lewis & Clark was a client of Deck Monitoring but Amy Dvorak, the college's sustainability director, was looking for a software like Byngo.
Dvorak wanted to do something different with the energy competitions now standard on college campuses. In past competitions, she told Corbin, she was frustrated with the types of software available to convert campus energy data into a game that could engage the community in behavioral change.
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