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Pingup and LevelUp

What do breakups, job acceptances, and drug deals have in common? All can happen via text message. We have mixed feelings about the impersonal Age of the iPhone, but one digital development we’re warming to fast is locally born startup Pingup. The smartphone app lets users communicate with participating restaurants, shops, and entertainment venues by text. (Better than waiting on hold while being subjected to a tinny recording of “Jessie’s Girl.”) With a few taps, you’ll be making reservations at your favorite restaurant, checking availability of nearby squash courts, and monitoring the progress of your dry cleaning. (Pingup is also active in Miami, and given the recent completion of a $1 million round of financing with backing from Cambridge venture-capital firm Avalon Ventures, further expansion seems likely.) When you ultimately make your purchase, maybe you’ll use LevelUp. Created by Boston-based company SCVNGR, the app lets you scan a QR code at checkout, automatically deducting payment from a linked account and earning you reward credits for future purchases. Cost to human contact? Significant. But the convenience? Priceless.

_ Stuff Boston