Young developers build a mobile app for the bar scene

| Print |  Email
Articles - March 2011
Wednesday, March 02, 2011

 

0311_TweetyBird
Daniel Starling (left) and Pierce Lamb buddy up at Henry's Tavern in Portland. The pair co-founded BarBird, a mobile app that allows users to search Tweets from surrounding bars.  // Photo by Teresa Meier

Pierce Lamb met Daniel Starling online, splattering each other with digital paintballs at the ripe age of 13. They remained digital comrades, but only met in real life last year, at Portland’s Open Government Hackathon. It was at the Hackathon where they conceived and began building their new company, BarBird.

BarBird is a Tweet aggregating service for happy hours. It allows users to search Tweets from surrounding bars using a handful of categories, including “Specials,” “Tonight Only” and “Live Music.”

BarBird currently is live in 44 cities nationwide and six international cities. It’s growing quickly, says Lamb, because bar owners don’t need to actually register with BarBird to participate. They simply create a Twitter account in the bar’s name and start Tweeting; BarBird pulls and organizes the information for the user.

With so many mobile apps, it’s becoming increasingly difficult to stand out, says John Furukawa, director of product development at Uncorked Studio, the Portland firm that built the BarBird iPhone app. “I’m very skeptical in general of products in a marketplace where there are hundreds of thousands of options,” he says. But he adds that BarBird offers immediacy. “Mobile is about immediacy, and every time someone tries to make it about something other than immediacy, they run into the problem that nobody has patience for it,” he says.

The team is looking to raise $600,000 this summer to hire two developers and two marketing people. They need the support, says Lamb, to scale faster and reach the non-geek audience who may be slower to adopt the service.

The app is free to download, but the duo plans to make money by offering sponsored “Hot Tweets,” which would appear at the top of a user’s search query, similar to Google Adwords or Yelp’s sponsored results.

BarBird is banking on user demand for fresh information on specials and events and businesses willing to pay for the attention. “The BarBird idea was simple and solved a problem in my life I assume a lot of other people have,” says Lamb.

ILIE MITARU
 

More Articles

4 married couples who work together

The Latest
Thursday, January 22, 2015
IMG 0020BY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

They say maintaining a healthy marriage takes work. So does running a business with your spouse.


Read more...

Nuclear fingerprints

March 2015
Tuesday, February 24, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

At Oregon State University, a 21st century version of the bad dream — nuclear terrorism — is alive and well. This winter, the Department of Nuclear Physics and Radiation Health Physics created a new interdisciplinary graduate emphasis in nuclear forensics, a Sherlock Holmes-sounding program that aims to identify how and where confiscated nuclear and radiological materials were created.


Read more...

Finding a Balance

Contributed Blogs
Thursday, January 29, 2015
012915-passinvst-thumbBY JASON NORRIS | OB GUEST BLOGGER

Active vs. passive investing: what you need to know.


Read more...

Meeting Facilities Perspective

March 2015
Tuesday, February 24, 2015
BY KIM MOORE | OB RESEARCH EDITOR

A conversation with Donna Earley, director of sales and marketing for the Salem Convention Center.


Read more...

A legislative preview — and celebration

Linda Baker
Friday, January 23, 2015
012315-speaker-thumbBY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

The Northwest Environmental Business Council previews the 2015 legislative agenda as Hatch Oregon celebrates Oregon's new community crowdfunding rules.


Read more...

Thy neighbor's house

March 2015
Friday, February 20, 2015
BY LINDA BAKER | OB EDITOR

Vacasa may lack the name recognition of Airbnb. But not for long.


Read more...

5 schools helping students crack code

The Latest
Thursday, January 29, 2015
codeduthumbnailBY JACOB PALMER | OB DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

As the costs of college mount, and as employer demand for software developers soars, coding schools and classes are popping up everywhere.


Read more...
Oregon Business magazinetitle-sponsored-links-02
SPONSORED LINKS