Conpoto pays it forward at Albion College
Making your old college your customer has to be a gratifying feeling.
The co-founders of Holland-based Conpoto, Matt Lepard and Matt Ahearn — who both attended Albion College — have added to their alma mater, a private liberal arts college in Albion, Mich., to their list of partners.
Both men studied economic management at Albion, where Ahearn graduated in 1990 and Lepard in 1995, before the two went on to create Conpoto.
Conpoto is a web-based service that allows users buy drinks and food at affiliated restaurants as "treats" for friends or clients, who can then redeem the treat with an emailed redemption code. Users can also buy treats through Conpoto's free apps for Apple iOS and Google Android devices.
The Albion partnership
Albion College recently picked up Conpoto for users to place remote orders at the college’s Read Between The Grinds coffee shop, inside Albion’s Stockwell Memorial Library.
Albion plans to push the app in the school newsletter and integrate it into orientation next year with parents, Lepard said, adding that a new feature was added to the app to make it so grandparents only have to click a button to send their college grandchild a treat.
“We think there’s a lot of applications for universities," Lepard said. "It’s a great way for parents and others to reach out and personally give a small gift to a student without having to send cash or something less personal. It’s just a small way to say, ‘I’m thinking about you.’”
Albion will consider expanding the Conpoto service on campus to other food service outlets, said Todd Tekiele, director of auxiliary services at Albion College.
For example, Albion’s food service provider, Bon Appetit Management Company, prepares fresh baked goods daily, and it may soon be possible for parents to order their students treats, such as a birthday cake or plate of cookies.
“We can also envision using Conpoto to treat alumni and prospective students when they are visiting our campus,” Tekiele said.
“Conpoto should be a nice enhancement to the student experience on campus,” he said. “It’s another way we can provide value-added services that students often find at larger campuses."
New markets and partners
Conpoto is expanding, Lepard said, as other colleges are also considering using the service.
Conpoto is also finding its way into other markets, he said, as it's now being used by the Grand Rapids, Lansing and the West Coast chambers of commerce.
The new partnerships are part of the company’s plan to continue growing by leveraging its platform for businesses, he said.
For a business designed around making connections, higher education institutions filled with connections all over the world, are the ideal place to start expanding, he said.
“Ultimately, it’ll be a tool for higher education. That’s the sweet spot. You’ve got all these technology-savvy people located in one area, but still connected to family and friends all over the country," Lepard said.
“That’s the design — to engage in a lot of those areas and over the next four years, we keep engaging more universities and more chambers of commerce and, ultimately, a large concentration of merchants," he said. "It’s proven to be a more valuable tool for businesses.”