Start Garden invests $20K more in app
A startup bridging the communication gap between local businesses and their customers has secured another $20,000 in funding from Start Garden.
The $15-million seed fund in Grand Rapids selected the mobile app Boldr for the funding at its December Update Night event last week.
The app is designed to give consumers access to real-time information or updates from local businesses they otherwise wouldn’t be aware of unless they walked into the businesses.
The Update Night events allow entrepreneurs who have received an initial $5,000 investment from Start Garden to present their progress to the Start Garden team and audience to secure more funding.
Prateek Sachdeva, founder of Boldr, said the startup conducted a soft public launch in Ann Arbor on Oct. 24, and local restaurants and bars that are signed up with the app love its potential.
Prior to the soft public launch, Boldr conducted a closed beta launch on Sept. 3 with 20 businesses and 200 users in the Ann Arbor area.
The app allows local businesses to communicate with customers and also leverages beacons or wireless sensors to track customer entry and exit times at businesses to analyze data against specific promotions.
The local businesses “want to use our platform over their current alternatives,” Sachdeva said.
“However, in order for us to succeed, we need to capture the user audience, and the awesome thing is that our partner businesses are helping us a lot to do just that. They want us to succeed, because it will truly benefit them at the end.”
“We saw positive feedback from our users and validated our hypothesis that people prefer local event information over deals and coupons and are willing to use Boldr to get that information,” Sachdeva said. “Our soft launch has gone well, helped us perfect our product, and we are expecting high growth January onwards.”
As Boldr moves forward, Sachdeva said the startup is launching its major marketing efforts and partnerships in January and will focus on user growth and engagement.
The startup has also grown to include five University of Michigan student interns to assist in the marketing and development of Boldr, as it looks to expand from Ann Arbor to other cities, such as Grand Rapids.
In response to the additional investment from Start Garden, Sachdeva said he was shocked and having Start Garden’s continued support is not only a confidence boost, but also validates Boldr’s mission.
“I went in with a mindset of a ‘not-now’ response from Start Garden,” Sachdeva said. “I know Boldr has what it takes, but I thought we were too early for their investments. I’m excited to be working with their awesome team and looking forward to 2015. With the new investment, we can move even faster and learn as much as possible from Ann Arbor necessary to scale out.”