Every city has a lot to offer in terms or meal, mead and entertainment. However, the only hurdle between folks and such merriment is the lack of information. Luckily, there is a new app in town called Banter that addresses this very issue in real time.
In just a click, you can easily see nearby fun activities going on right now. With this app you no longer will miss out on amazing happy hours, scrumptious food trucks and live music performances. That’s not all; you can also decide on which event you want to go for by looking at details that include reviews and feedback from other users in real time and Yelp rating and comments.
Meet The Genius Minds Behind Banter!
This app is the brain child of the trio, Diego Villarreal, Andre Green and Sergio Navacerrada.
“I was born and raised in Mexico but moved to the Bay Area in 2006 to get my undergrad degree at Stanford. After graduating, I spent 4 years working as a marketing and branding consultant. During that last year, I started developing an application called AROUND as a side project. AROUND had a similar mission as Banter’s – it was meant to replace the “chalkboard signs” that small businesses put outside of their locations by letting them put similar announcements (i.e. lunch specials, happy hours) on a mobile platform”, says Diego.
After spending a year working on AROUND as a side project, Diego quit his job at Prophet to dedicate himself to the start-up full-time. Soon after he met Andre and Sergio, who became co-founders, and they all worked on a new but similar app that is now called Banter.
Know This App Better!
The application of Banter is simple and straight to the point. It is a map that provides users with all the nearby happy hours, live music and food trucks in real-time. Presently, Banter is live only in San Francisco and is only at its first version.
The team is working on adding additional content in 2015. This will primarily focus on real-time occupancy of 30 or so bars in January and more crowd-sourcing functionalities so that users can add more context in real-time about the bars or restaurants they’re at (atmosphere, wait lines, cover, attitude of bartenders, photos, etc.). Further, the team is also building a web-based platform for businesses so that they can manage their presence on Banter easily.
Unlike Google, Yelp and Foursquare, Banter is dynamic that provides real-time information on local businesses and on what’s going on. Through this app, the team has created a simple map interface using icons so that users can very easily see everything that is going on around them in real-time.
The True Inspiration Behind it All!
“After living in San Francisco for four years, I knew that there was no easy way to find out what’s going on at nearby bars in real-time. Google helped me find where things were and Yelp and Foursquare provided reviews, etc., but none of them were good being dynamic enough to provide real-time information. The founders all knew we would use the app ourselves, and we gut-checked the idea with over a hundred people we talked to before starting to write the first lines of code for Banter”, says Diego.
On Challenges Faced
Like most start-ups, one of the biggest hurdles faced by the team was to figure out a way to transform their vision into something tangible. Also, breaking it down into a series of steps that would enable them to create a roadmap for a successful product was again equally challenging.
“We had to make trade-offs on only providing a narrow set of content, so we did research and realized that the combination of happy hours, live music and food trucks would be most powerful. We also knew we’d face a “chicken and egg” problem if we had to rely on crowd-sourced data to start with, so we decided to spend our time building our own internal database instead of trying to convince local businesses to provide their content themselves”, adds the team.
On Competitors & Expansion Plans
Google, Yelp and Foursquare are Banter’s biggest competitors. However, the app has been strategically positioned in a space that is complimentary and different than what these competitors provide. Also, there are many small competitors like YPlan, Nudge, BarTrendr, etc. that aim at helping people figure out what to do for fun. Nevertheless, the team has been monitoring the functioning of these apps to keep a track of its amazing features and drawbacks in order to device their own strategy for success with Banter.
In term of expansion plans, this is what the team has to say, “We believe the value we provide is globally relevant, so we believe Banter has unlimited potential to expand globally. We plan on expanding throughout the Bay Area in the next 2-3 months and then launching in a handful of other markets over the summer, once we finish developing our web-based platform for businesses”.
On Target Audience & Plans on Monetizing
At the moment, Banter is predominately targeted towards people residing in San Francisco that like to go to happy hours, live music and food trucks and who are avid adopters of new mobile apps. However, the team does plan on expanding the app to a more mainstream audience by expanding the geographic presence of Banter as well as expanding the type of content user’s see
In addition, monetization strategy is mainly focused on revenue from local merchants, mostly through the web-based platform the team is building. They also plan on monetizing through sponsored posts as well as offers, discounts, etc., that the local businesses and brands can offer the app’s most engaged users.
To know more about how Banter works, do make it a point to visit: www.thebanterapp.com
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