Michael Lawrence once paid for an appetizer that could have been free, and the experience bothered him so greatly that he built a business.
Now after a successful four months live in the Quad Cities, Lawrence is eager to take BluJaket to Des Moines, serving restaurants to shoe stores with a personalized platform to push better coupons out to customers. Lawrence pitched the mobile platform at Wednesday morning’s 1 Million Cups event in the Science Center of Iowa.
Lawrence and two co-founders launched BluJaket in Davenport more than a year after that fateful appetizer, which Lawrence found a coupon for in his email just after leaving the restaurant.
BluJaket is a subscription-based platform for businesses to create and distribute digital coupons within a targeted, geotagged locations. For $25 a month, businesses have unlimited control over what specials they offer, and how often the special is offered.
Consumers, who can download and use the app for free, are notified of the offers once they enter that business’s geolocation, Lawrence said. Lawrence targets restaurants for most of his sales pitches, but he believes the platform is broad enough to serve gas stations, hotels, events, grocers and department stores.
BluJaket expects to have 2,000 users by the end of May, Lawrence said.
“I feel like Des Moines is potentially the next Seattle or Austin or Denver,” Lawrence said. “We were one of the last cities to get Uber in Davenport, so I thought, ‘if I can make BluJaket work here, I can make it work everywhere.’”
It’s a handy roadmap for where Lawrence sees BluJaket next – Seattle, Austin, Denver or Chicago – and the company is aiming to have 1,000 businesses subscribe in the next year. Right now, BluJaket is available in iOS and Android stores, and Lawrence anticipates the first Des Moines businesses to be on the platform sometime in June.
“We’re built to grow as fast as we’re able to,” Lawrence said.
In the meantime, Lawrence and his wife have gotten to know restaurants in Davenport pretty well.
“It’s been terrible for my diet,” he joked. “I’m a loyal person … I don’t typically go to restaurants that aren’t on the app. It (got me) to return the favor, reinvesting in them for investing in me.”