Acquisition Tools of the Best Companies Part 1 (Uber, Classpass, and Square)


Eugene Leychenko
4 min readApr 1, 2016

Uber came out of a need because the founders, residents of San Francisco, realized how terrible the taxi system was in their hometown. When Uber launches a new city it has a few promotional tactics that gets a lot of attention. Firstly, they have a “rider 0”. This is usually a celebrity that is well known in that town taking the first ride. Here is a picture of the actor Ed Norton being “rider 0” when Uber launched in LA in 2012.

Ed Norton (Uber investor)

For riders, so they can experience the platform, they give away a free ride (usually up to $25). Lastly, to maintain stickiness, as well as giving people a reason to open the app for a reason outside of getting a ride, they do fun promotions. At South by Southwest, they were delivering BBQ via pedicab through their platform. They did a unique partnership with the ASPCA that would deliver kittens to you, so you could sit and play with them for 15 minutes. Lastly, UberIceCream, getting an ice cream truck to come to you, on-demand.

To incentivize word of mouth, users are given referral codes which grants them and the referee $20 worth of Uber credits. This practice is so popular that people began gaming the system. By posting their promo codes on popular sites like Reddit, it boosted their ranking when people Googled for discount codes.


Classpass gives away credits to join their program. They can range from $25-$50. And because of it’s a month-to-month commitment, it is basically a risk-free trial. In addition, they chose to launch in New York City because it’s competitive and fragmented boutique gym landscape.


When Square first launched, it acquired a lot of user through it free Square Card Reader. It was a small square shaped dongle that would plug into the headphone jack of your smartphone and would allow you to process credit cards. They would sell it for $10, but then give you a $10 credit on your account. From there they launched a few products, all used to get more users by showing its use cases:

Square Card Case
  • Square Card Case — featured a directory of shops around which accepted Square and the “Tabs” which allowed users to pay by just using their names.
Square Stand
  • Square Stand — converts your iPad into a POS system which came with a suite of tools for your business to use.
  • Square Cash — person to person money transfer via email.

All these product launch efforts were to increase usage and adoption for both businesses and consumers.

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Eugene Leychenko

Writing about business strategy and well executed development. Running (web & mobile development from NYC/LA)