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Pint Media Inc.: 2 guys, a six pack and one fun idea!

Pint Media Inc. was created on a whim. After completing our MBA’s at Babson (FW Olin Graduate School of Business) and studying within the Entrepreneurship Intensity track, Ben and I had some free time and the desire to flex our entrepreneurial “muscles”. With the immediate future uncertain for both of us, we were looking for opportunities to put our learning to the test.

During the course of our graduation festivities, we participated in a variety of social events, one of which was a combination pub crawl-scavenger hunt – played via text message. We had a blast during the event. It was fun, unique, highly social and a great way to spend a few hours in the afternoon. We realized we had a really positive experience and decided to ask our fellow MBA (who came up with the idea) if we might try build a business around it. We were given permission to take the idea and after some initial brainstorming, we set to work.

Both being interested in the mobile space, and realizing the opportunity we took the two traditionally analogue activities, the pub crawl and the scavenger hunt, and decided to see what would happen if we combined and reformatted the games to take advantage of the proliferation of smart phones. What we came up with is now called Drink & Hunt, Pint Media’s mobile web-enhanced pub crawl/scavenger hunt.

As we were both fresh out of graduate school, money was in short supply, but know-how, passion to create something and time were not. With $500 in cash and a credit card (just in case) we constructed the game, launched several rounds of testing and incorporated the company in a matter of three months.

The “beta” phase of the business was lots of fun. We asked our friends, and their friends of friends to play the game, enjoy themselves and then asked for their feedback on the spot. By not relying strictly on those that were close to us, we received honest feedback and were able to cheaply and quickly implement changes to the game, including adding features and tweaking game play.

Our official launch spanned 8 weekends in September and October, starting on September 11th, 2010. Over the course of those 8 weekends we introduced Drink & Hunt to over 500 customers with this, managed to fill our short-term pipeline with alumni groups, charities and private parties.

A quick overview of Drink & Hunt:

  • 6-7 bars included in the Hunt, across 2.5-3 hours
  • Teams of 5-10 people, with at least one smart phone (iPhone, Android, Blackberry) per team
  • Teams compete against each other for overall time
  • The object of the game: Solve the clues, find the bars, enjoy the Hunt!
  • Local trivia and team challenges included to enhance the game and earn extra points to decrease overall time
  • Prizes given out to winning teams

Hunts are designed to highlight off-the-beaten path watering holes and mix in some neighborhood favorite bars. Over the course of multiple Hunts, we’ve found that people greatly appreciate the opportunity to experience bars that they might not otherwise be aware of, or try on their own.

Our primary target is the post college, young professional (roughly 24-35) and skews towards female. We fill our events pipeline by advertising monthly “open Hunts” were anyone can create a team and join. This in turn spreads awareness of Drink & Hunt and helps us sell private versions of the events. We also work with alumni associations, charities, fundraising teams and other groups creating a “social entrepreneurship” identity to the business as well as providing additional opportunities to generate revenue.

After the Hunt, we take time to talk to as many participants as possible to gain their feedback and solve any customer inquiries or issues. This direct, unfiltered feedback has been critical in allowing us to grow quickly and solve problems as they arise. By talking to our customers extensively, we have also discerned that they see value in an organized, social activity that occurs in real-time, not simply online, yet includes online participation or monitoring by close friends not in attendance.

This in mind, Pint Media is actively exploring the opportunities to incorporate our mobile web enhanced concept for different types of events to bring this interaction down to the “hyper-local level”.

Pint Media Inc. is in the black with $130,000 in expected revenue for 2011. This revenue is allowing us to meet our operational needs and also providing funding to bootstrap towards expansion and growth into additional types of events.

In the meantime, we’ve learned a lot about what it means to run an ultra lean start up, using Google Apps, Google Analytics, Skype, WordPress, Compete.com tools and the usual plethora of social media applications (Facebook, Twitter, etc.). We’ve been lucky to find a wealth of knowledge in terms of white papers, blog articles and advice from all over the web, which has helped us stay focused and on track when we have questions.

Going to networking events of other entrepreneurs here in the Boston area is incredibly helpful. Not only is it a great way to meet potential partners, employees or mentors, but networking events allow you to gain outside perspective when trying to solve a problem. When surrounded by other entrepreneurs this is especially poignant, as it is highly likely the other person(s) has encountered an identical or very similar problem before.

www.drinkandhunt.com

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