Sponsored by Lane Powell

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

Change at the pump?

The Latest
Tuesday, May 26, 2015
001thumbBY JASON E. KAPLAN | STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

New Jersey and Oregon are the only two states in the U.S. that ban self serve gas stations. But these two holdouts may be ready to give up the game. New Jersey is considering legislation that would lift the state's ban on pumping your own gas. Oregon is considering smaller scale changes.


Read more...

Up in the Air

June 2015
Friday, May 22, 2015
BY ANNIE ELLISON

Portland tech veteran Ben Berry is leaving his post as Portland’s chief technology officer for a full-time role producing unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) aimed at first responders and the military. Berry’s AirShip Technologies Group is poised to be on the ground floor of an industry that will supply drones to as many as 100,000 police, fire and emergency agencies nationwide. He reveals the plan for takeoff.


Read more...

Stemming the tide of money in politics

Linda Baker
Wednesday, June 10, 2015
 jeff-lang-2012-thumbBY LINDA BAKER

Jeff Lang and his wife Rae used to dole out campaign checks like candy.  “We were like alcoholics,” Lang says. ”We couldn’t just give a little.”


Read more...

The Backstory: Portland Youth Builders

The Latest
Wednesday, June 03, 2015
blog002 1BY JASON E. KAPLAN | STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER

As part of our green workplaces story, Oregon Business checked out a community service project undertaken by Portland Youth Builders, a nonprofit alternative high school. In partnership with Whole Foods, PYB built garden boxes for a Home Forward  housing site. Home Forward is a government agency that provides housing for low income residents and people with disabilities.


Read more...

6 key things to know about summer baseball in Oregon

The Latest
Friday, June 05, 2015
basedthumbBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

As temperatures in Oregon creep into the 90s this weekend, Oregonians' thoughts are turning to — summer baseball.


Read more...

Apartment Mania

Guest Blog
Thursday, June 18, 2015
4805983977 11466ce1d6 zBY BRAD HOULE | CFA

While most categories of commercial real estate have performed well, one of the most robust has been apartment buildings.


Read more...

5 things to know about veterans in the workforce

The Latest
Wednesday, July 01, 2015
070215-vetsthumbBY JACOB PALMER | DIGITAL NEWS EDITOR

There are more than 10 million former military members working in the United States.


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