Passionate Founder Launches A New Startup called “Diner” with the Help of App Partner
November 3, 2017
Real life connection is made around the meal table, trust is built, business deals are sealed and friends are made. That’s what inspired Kerry Fulton to hire App Partner and create Diner: Diner is a meal hosting App that allows users to curate, brand and locate their own meal experiences. And message the host.
In 2013, Kerry had recently moved back to New York and was dining out. She struck up a conversation at the vegetarian bar in Eataly with a fellow diner and discovered the woman had been commuting to work and eating out three nights a week. Completely alone. For five years.
“Technology has been destroying shared meals around the world–how many people have you seen engaging with their phones rather than each other at restaurants? I thought, why not use it to bring people together over a meal, instead?” Kerry said.
With that goal in mind, she set out to build something that would tear down some of our modern day barriers, create more opportunities for people to break bread together, and help foster genuine real-life relationships.
The idea was simple—enable users to share a meal with someone and engage in authentic conversation. But the road to a live mobile app wasn’t an easy one.
Kerry was pitching her idea to everyone she could but didn’t gain any traction. She quickly realized she needed to have something tangible to show her audience. She approached App Partner to develop a high-fidelity prototype in the hopes of gaining valuable market feedback and securing investment to cover development costs.
“I didn’t know anything about app development—not the language, the architecture, the process—but the App Partner team was incredibly patient,” Kerry said. “And the prototype made a huge difference in people’s perception, of the idea and of me. Diner went from being just an idea to something real, and I started getting more traction.”
Nearly a year later, Kerry had amassed a significant amount of feedback and realized it would take much longer to reach the critical mass required to make the public, location-based, instant social dining concept work well. She needed Diner to evolve. App Partner ran an additional design sprint to incorporate robust private hosting functionality into the app prototype, and Kerry dove back into networking the updated concept.
Within two months, she had secured a $50,000 seed investment and was ready for development.
“The partnership approach that App Partner talks about was really important,” Kerry said. “Meeting face-to-face and talking through everything was an essential element of the learning process for me, it mattered they were locally based.”
For example, although it was difficult for Kerry to hone down all the attributes she wanted into a realistic MVP, App Partner helped shepherd her through those decision points and developed a custom iOS app based on the revised scope.
For launch, Diner included both the original public function that lets people jump on a meal with someone and a hosting function for planning and branding private meal events. And Kerry has a robust marketing plan for both.
Not wanting to disappear into the internet black hole, Kerry is rolling out a number of partnerships that will likely shape the next iteration of Diner, and App Partner is prepared to support the evolution with technical, analytical and strategic intelligence.
“Honestly, I wouldn’t have gotten to this stage without them, but this is just the beginning. Now I have to really hustle, and one of the most interesting things about working with App Partner has been the post-launch support,” Kerry said. “The analytics and data we are getting are helping us create a bridge from where we were to where we want to go next.”
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