The Boldr mobile app allows local businesses to share real-time updates with consumers. Photo via apple.com
In a world of digital information overload, a startup is aiming to close the communication gap between local businesses and consumers.
Start Garden, the $15-million seed fund in Grand Rapids, said last month that it will make a $5,000 initial investment in the mobile app Boldr.
Prateek Sachdeva, founder of Boldr, said 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.
“Local businesses have a lot of changing specials — happy hours, new dishes, new menus — and the only way you as a customer get that information is if you walk in or call the place,” Sachdeva said. “It is not meant to be a discovery platform, like Yelp. It is not about deals. It is specifically about information.”
The app enables instant communication between businesses and customers, as events, specials, menus and other information changes on a daily basis.
With specific functions for both types of users, Boldr allows customers to access up-to-date information on their favorite local businesses, view company profiles and message the organization with comments or questions.
Rather than focusing on establishing a consumer base with a loyalty and reward strategy, Sachdeva said his initial target market is young adults 21 and older who have already established their favorite local businesses.
Boldr also provides specific functions for businesses: a profile with company details, “pings” to plan advance updates, replying to customers, automatic feedback from customers as they leave the business and receiving data through the use of beacons or wireless sensors, which can communicate with smartphones.
Beacons track the entry and exit time for customers, which is a less invasive and uses less battery power than live location tracking.
Using the data acquired from beacons, Boldr provides metrics for businesses, such as conversion and visit duration.
“I put the sensors into each local business, and they tell me when people enter and exit their restaurant,” Sachdeva said. “That way I can tell a business, ‘Hey, you promoted a happy hour from 2:30 until 6:00, 100 people saw it and 80 people actually came to your business as a direct result.’”
Boldr launched a closed beta experiment on Sept. 3 with 20 businesses and 200 people.
The startup expects to broaden its exposure in October with a public beta based in Ann Arbor.
Boldr was selected for the weekly $5,000 investment from Start Garden based on public endorsement and a decision by the team at Start Garden.
“It was amazing. I mean the week that I applied, it turned out there was a lot of competition,” Sachdeva said. “I was very happy that I won.”
Boldr is required to return to a monthly Start Garden Update Night event after a couple of months to present on its progress to be considered for further funding.