What our “Planet of the Apps” episode didn’t show
Last August, I had been a founder for 5 months. I had just finished my first year at NYU Stern. I had moved to a closet sized room in New York City for the summer while all my friends were home celebrating after finishing their first year in college.
I was going to every networking event I possibly could. One of those networking events was clearly different from the others. It was a room full of sweaty and eager entrepreneurs, like usual, but about halfway through the event everyone was pulled together to talk about something called “Planet of the Apps”. Little did I know, this wasn’t a networking event. This was a casting event.
Flash forward a few months, after closing down a bar to film our application, receiving the longest legal contract I have ever laid my eyes on, and weeks of silence from the casting crew, we had made it. All of a sudden this “startup” thing was getting kind of cool!
“Planet of the Apps” gave me a small taste of fame extremely prematurely. However, these small tastes of fame are what can truly inspire and motivate founders, especially first time founders, to embrace what could be at the other end of the tunnel.
Seeing our final “Planet of the Apps” episode for the first time was clear evidence that startups change ridiculously fast. From pitching the mentors to pitching Lightspeed, our revenue model and app interface changed drastically. Beyond that, there a few key things that the episode left out, and a novel of lessons we have learned since airing. Here are just a few!
What the episode missed…
#1: We executed on Gary’s advice to “knock on everyone’s door” to raise cash fast
Within 3 weeks of meeting with Gary, we raised 10x the capital Gary told us to.
#2: We met with a top NYC venue, Megu, to pitch them on TABu
This was such great footage and I’m so upset it wasn’t included! We pitched two managers at this NYC hotspot and they agreed to use TABu.
#1: The revenue model
We would never implement charges that didn’t sit well with our users or customers. Early on, we were pitching TABu to bartenders and asking them how much they would sacrifice of tips to save the time TABu gave back. They had given us relatively high numbers. However, just on principle, we quickly moved away from that. Today we have a small convenience fee on the user’s side and a subscription model on the venue’s side. We don’t believe in charging the venue per transaction — we want every bar to clearly know what they will owe each month. We will be adding additional promotion and CRM platforms for brands and venues in the coming months as an additional stream of revenue.
#2: Jeremy Liew is right — a sales force is expensive!
But, it doesn’t have to be. Hospitality is an extremely relationship driven industry, and we are creating a sales force that sits directly on top of those relationships. Rather than hire sales reps and account managers, we are working directly with industry professionals who already have those relationships, and paying them on a commission basis. This makes every salary a salary based on results, and lower than the average sales reps annual salary.
Regardless of the buzz, the reviews, and the success of the show, “Planet of the Apps” has inspired entrepreneurs like myself to do things we never imagined. I would argue, in that sense, Apple has furthered their mission. But more importantly, it has inspired me to further ours.
We hope that you will check out our app, and join us when we come to your city!
Want to get in touch?