Conpoto users pick up the bill for clients


A screen shot of the mobile app by Holland-based Conpoto, a web-based service for remotely buying "treats" for friends and family. Image via 

Businesses can now take clients out for a drink via the phone.

Conpoto, Latin for “drink together,” has created a mobile app and online service where users can buy drinks and food as “treats” for friends and clients. The service then emails a redemption code to gift the recipent.

Matt Lepard, CEO and co-founder, said the idea came to him after someone bought him a beer off a bar chalkboard. Lepard wanted to create the same type of system digitally.

The project launched in June 2011 as a hobby, Lepard said, but has since become a full-time job, with 27 different participating locations in four different states. Most of the stores are in Michigan, he said, with recent expansion in Lansing.

Conpoto came out as a free Apple iOS app this fall and also has an Android app. What started out as digital shopping for mainly coffee, restaurants and bars could expand into more products if merchants get on board, he said.

“What we’re trying to do is bring people together, giving benefits to merchants and professional services,” Lepard said. “We take a small processing fee of the transaction.”

Because people must physically go into the store to pick up their treat, Conpoto brings foot traffic to areas with participating locations, Lepard said.

Although individual users must pay for the gift regardless whether it is picked up by a friend, businesses are only charged for ordered gifts that are picked up, he said, giving business users an advantage.

Lepard told the story of how a mortgage company recently used Conpoto to purchase 1,000 coffees for clients.

The gesture made a huge impression on the clients, he said, and seven closings were made shortly thereafter. And since only 62 clients picked up their coffees, the mortgage company actually only had to pay for those 62 orders.

The company’s act of generosity on Conpoto reaped far more than it sowed, he said, helping it still reach 1,000 people.

Systems like Conpoto are changing how people buy, Lepard said. Social buying is about creating experiences, he said, not only for the buyers, but also for the companies of the buyers.

Conpoto is looking to expand into the Great Lakes region and, eventually, internationally.

“We are fairly well poised to change the way businesses reach out to clients,” he said. “I haven’t seen plays like this in the space yet, so I think Conpoto is poised to do that. But, certainly, the electronic wallet is in place to take hold.”

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