Executives of Bizzy, an online check-in service primarily for restaurants, are traversing the Pacific Northwest, getting in front of customers at local restaurants and bars to introduce themselves and get feedback. The jaunt through Oregon and Washington is an abbreviated sequel to a trek in July that took Bizzy execs from Silicon Valley across the Southwest and Texas and up to Washington, D.C.
The eye-catching publicity swings, while time-consuming, speak to the lengths some social-media start-ups are willing to go to gain traction in a marketplace larded with competition.
VIDEO: Bizzy’s founder explains his app for foodies
After a quick powwow with folks at the Portland Incubator Experiment which nutures new businesses, Bizzy’s Ryan Kuder and founder Gadi Shamia host a dinner for foodies, followed by free beer at a popular tap room. About 25 customers and would-be Bizzy users show up for brews — either through Facebook notifications, tweets or old-fashioned word of mouth.
“This is prospecting for us,” says Kuder, a former Yahoo marketing executive.
“We want to meet real people using our app, listen to what they want, and create buzz,” Kuder says.
Doniree Walker, a food and lifestyle blogger in Portland, is an early advocate because she’s been able to “discover great restaurants.”