ShareWhere hires two, turns focus to paid merchant accounts
ShareWhere, a forward-thinking, social location service, has hired its first two staffers to recruit merchants.
ShareWhere founder Dylan Hamilton described the service as a puzzle where user and merchant pieces fit together, and with the addition of his first two employees, his team is coming together, too. With an overhaul of the ShareWhere system complete, Chelsea Waits (right, middle) and Rebecca VanDeCasteele (far right) were hired to recruit merchants to the service.
ShareWhere is a forward-thinking, social location service. Instead of checking in where they are, users post where they are planning to go so their friends can plan to join. Merchants can then show them nearby deals. For example, if you plan to get drinks Friday with a group of friends, ShareWhere could direct you to nearby specials.
Hamilton had been working with associations, such as the Texas Restaurant Association and Illinois Restaurant Association, to potentially connect the service to thousands of bars and restaurants. But a problem came to his attention: ShareWhere had no way for a single merchant to control deals for multiple venues.
"It basically got into the very heart of what we were doing," Hamilton said. The development team created options for a single merchant to push out the same deal to all of their venues, or create a custom deal for each one. Creating that functionality required a complete re-write.
That 10-week project wrapped up June 22, and on Monday ShareWhere started offering paid merchant opportunities. ShareWhere's business model is based on merchants paying to offer deals to users. There are deals live on the site currently, but none are paid as of Thursday afternoon. That's where Waits and VanDeCastelle come in. Their roles are marketing manager and merchant acquisition manager, respectively.
The team will also continue to persue other markets, like the Illinois Restaurant Association, because they want to have security in case local merchants don't immediately respond to the idea. But, Hamilton said the team's hearts are in Des Moines.
"We really want Des Moines to be a success," Hamilton said, noting that he has lived around the country and chose to live in Iowa. "We really want to be that local success story."
Since inception, ShareWhere has been bootstrapped by Hamilton. Other startups in the social sharing of plans include Cannonball and, for a few more days, Forecast – the service announced it would be shutting down July 1. But neither offer its users merchant deals like ShareWhere.
ShareWhere is available online and for iOS (left). An Android app is expected to be released next month.