Reapso: Perfecting Your App For LaunchBy Amanda Lewan on March 11th, 2013 /
Bill Wildern wanted to build a better way to claim deals from your local Michigan businesses. Not only did he want to create a game as a rewards app, but he also wanted to create an easy to use mobile platform for small business owners.
Bill got together with his partner Steven Valentine and began to build a mobile app. With the help of Grand Rapid’s Atomic Object and outside funding they received, the two were able to build Reapso.
Reapso launched last month and has over 500 active users that have played games 4,000 times. Business in the Royal Oak area are currently listed on the app, and Bill says they are working to get businesses in Metro Detroit and Grand Rapids onto their app very soon. Their goal is to have 20-30 businesses near your home on the app so that the game becomes a part of your lifestyle, and rewards become useful and fun.
“It gives the customer a deal they want. Instead of getting a Groupon with random selections. Now they can say where they like to shop and eat to receive deals,” said Bill.
There are two ways to play the game: by using a virtual coin within the app, or by scanning the QR codes found physically at locations of businesses or digitally on social media sites (search #ReapSo or #ReapTag). Once a coin has been used or a ReapTag has been scanned, the user taps to play and receive a deal from their favorite place.
So if you’re at a local bar you can receive 15% off of your bill, or a discount on a favorite drink. Deals are set by the local businesses, offering a mobile and interactive way to reward their customers.
“We put that in the hands of the merchant to make the deal. They know what people will connect with and want,” said Bill.
The Not-So Lean Approach
In the entrepreneurial world we hear over and over gain the importance of building a product that your audience wants. By building a minimal viable product you start small, ask for feedback, and then tailor the product to fit your customers.
This can be great in many, or some may believe, all instances. Bill says their Reapso team took a slightly different approach investing much more into the app than a usual minimal viable product.
“There’s a school of thought out there to start small and test and keep building off of feedback,” said Bill. “Although we’re a lean operation we weren’t lean on the app development. It’s like launching flight and we’re the Wright Brothers. We went with a Boeing 757 rather than wooden planes.”
Bill says one of the main reasons they invested more into their app from the beginning was to stand out against competitors.
“You don’t want your idea to get out there too soon if it’s visionary. Whatever it is that you bring out, the truth of the matter is there’s always a bigger company that could do that if they wanted it.”
Bill does stress the importance of gaining feedback throughout the process, and that it’s important to improve quickly.
“Don’t be stubborn and say we’ve built it and they will come. We can always do everything better and the whole lean methodology is all about the hypothesis method approach,” said Bill. “Ask a question, test, and react. From an investment standpoint we weren’t very lean and didn’t bootstrap our product, but we used those questions and the lean approach to stay creative.”
One thing that Bill emphasized was that they wanted to build the app as a way to offer local businesses an easy to use mobile presence. These business may not be able to afford their own app, but can instead tailor their deals on Reapso and reach an already existing customer base.
Are you a local business? Check out what Reapso can do for your business.
The app is currently out in the app store today with an android version coming soon. Check out their Reap Tags and try out the app.