Voice asked Edgett to contribute to our ongoing community conversation by describing his decision to run a tech startup in the Inland Empire.
What is your role with wālo?
I am the Co-Founder & CEO of WaitLess, Inc., the creators of wālo (previously The Waitless App). I am the business development side of the house. I spend a lot of my time spreading the word about WaitLess, getting feedback from our users, meeting with future customers, and getting to know more people in the community.
How did the concept of wālo come about?
My co-founder David and I had known that we wanted to go into business together for a little while and we had been waiting for the right idea and the right time.The concept started while on a drive home after a vacation with friends in San Francisco. After long waits at popular restaurants, we started tossing around the idea of building a service that would help eliminate the need to wait in lines. I called David while we were driving through the Grapevine and the next day he went out and bought a new computer and started teaching himself how to build an iPhone app. The idea has morphed since then, but the original concept started in November 2012.
As a UCR grad what has been some of the challenges to run a tech startup in the Inland Empire?
Community – Riverside is a great community for getting to know different business leaders. It does however lack those interested in technology specific ventures. So knowing where to start and what would be the best use of our time was difficult in the beginning.
Funding – Similarly, there aren’t a lot of technology focused investors that are available in the Inland Empire. Luckily we have been able to fund the first 8 months of the company ourselves. As we begin the process with Angel and Seed investors, we will likely have to go outside of the Inland Empire to complete our initial offering.
What can the everyday consumer expect from downloading and using this app?
The app is available for iPhone and Android by searching the word: walo. After downloading the user can expect to register within the app to grant them access to view wait times at all of their favorite locations in Southern California. We currently have over 13,000 locations listed in the app and are adding about 1,000 per week. One of my favorite features we are already offering for some of the restaurants is something we are calling CloudWait™. This is where users can add their name to the wait list directly through the app.
How is the company marketing the app?
We are currently focusing our efforts on a couple of things. First and foremost we are creating an app that will be valuable to our users. As we create more features that are valuable we promote them through social media (FaceBook, Twitter, and LinkedIn) so our users can know what to expect from the app. We are in the process of vetting some sources of traditional avenues like print media as we near our public launch.
Another place we are focusing is from the perspective of business (our customers). As we start to deliver value to them and as they become a part of the platform, we will work with them to provide data analytics, predictive scheduling, and rewards programs. Our goal when working with the businesses is to deliver tools to them that either increases revenue and/or decreases cost. As we execute that plan we see the businesses as another source helping to drive users to our app.
Where do you see the company 5-years from now? And what are some of the future plans for wālo?
In 5 years we will have expanded our offerings across the country and we will have started to roll out some of our “VIP” services. Imagine being able to pay to skip the line at restaurant on a Friday night. Or for some it could be more valuable to sell your place in line to the person who is trying skip the wait. With the ability to manipulate supply and demand at different intervals we will be able to create the ultimate marketplace for people’s time. With that the possibilities are limitless.
Visit their website at www.waloapp.com.