RewardMe Data Gives Businesses A Boost
I worked as a waiter (along with nearly every other living writer) in a NYC restaurant where a computer program allowed us to keep notes about clients, my favorite being “PITA” or Pain in the Ass. This information proved useful and highly amusing for the staff, but probably didn’t help grow the business. RewardMe is a customer loyalty platform for the restaurant and retail industries that captures data at the point of sale. Businesses can analyze and use this data to drive lost customers back to the store, provide targeted marketing messages to consumers through personalized emails and text messaging, or employ gaming tactics to spur customer purchasing.
RewardMe was listed as one of AlwaysOn Global 250’s “Top 10 Private Companies to Watch” and was a Top 3 Finalist for Best Commercial App in the first LBS Awards (in the running against Groupon). Co-founder Jun Loayza previously sold two Internet companies, (SocialMediaMarketing.com and Untemplater). He’s lead social media technology campaigns for the likes of Sephora, Whole Foods Market, Levi’s and more. Here’s what he had to tell KillerStartups about life with RewardMe.
How long have you been involved with the internet? What were your first steps?
Our first attempt at an internet startup was back in 2007 with FD World. Our goal was to create a virtual world that made the real world more productive – a virtual LinkedIn. These were the first steps we took:
- Recruited engineers from UCLA (our alma mater)
- Rented a 1-bedroom apartment in Westwood and stuffed 7 people into it
- Hoarded $11-for-3-foot-longs coupons from Subway
- Went to work
What time do you usually start work each day?
Every team member has a unique schedule. My schedule goes like this:
- 6:30am: wake up, eat breakfast
- 7:15am: take my girlfriend to the Caltrain
- 7:30am: hit the gym
- 8:30am: eat more food, get ready for work
- 9:30am: get to the office
As a startup, the schedule is very flexible of course.
Do you have an office or work at home?
We have an office that is 5 minutes from home. Our house is a 4-bedroom that houses 4 of our team members. The garage at the house was formally our office space.
What’s the first thing you do when you leave the office at the end of the day?
After work, I usually pick up my girlfriend and we go home together to cook dinner. We’ll watch Netflix during dinner to unwind, and then I’ll head to the garage office to finish up some work for the day or to prepare for the next day.
When do your best ideas come to you? In bed in the morning? During dinner? After working for 16 hours? On your third beer?
The best ideas come to me at the gym. The endorphins get my creative juices flowing.
We want to know about where you spend your day! What’s on your desk right now?
On my desk:
- Macbook Pro (2008)
- Rubik’s Cube
- Fingerless gloves
- Business cards
- A 2nd monitor
- External hard drive
- Chew toy (for a dog that we took care of for a couple of days)
- Stress ball
What’s your office environment like? Is it the kind of place where everyone is bumping away to house music or is it more traditional?
Our office is a pretty chill place. Everyone has a desk but no one sits in a cubicle. We have a chess board in the game room and a patio outside to take a break. There is a park nearby where we play soccer tennis and ultimate frisbee.
Favorite movie? Band? Vacation Spot?
Favorite movie: Space Jam
Band: Foster the People
Vacation Spot: Delores Park, SF (every weekend is a vacation)
A lot of people have big ideas. What gave you the confidence to actually put your life on hold and realize yours?
I never put my life on hold. I believe it is a common misconception that an entrepreneur has to sacrifice everything is his life to achieve success. My company is growing rapidly and hitting milestones, and I still spend quality time with my girlfriend, friends, and family. I’ve lived the startup life for 5 years now, and I don’t ever plan to leave it. Even if my company fails, there’s no way that I’ll ever join a corporate firm. The skills and abilities that I’ve learned as an entrepreneur allow me to make money how I want from where I want.
“Money is littered on the streets, you just need to know how to pick it up.” – Jorge Loayza
What advice do you have for other entrepreneurs struggling to get their business off the ground?
Depends on why they’re struggling. They need to address their problems head on and not be afraid to pivot.
Are you having trouble getting clients:
- Do you need to learn how to sell?
- Are you targeting the wrong people or companies?
- Is your market not ready for your technology?
Are you having trouble with your product:
- Can’t hit product milestones?
- The technology is harder than you expected
- Are your engineers not good enough?
Ultimately, everyone is going to struggle. The main difference between a successful entrepreneur and a failed entrepreneur is sheer perseverance.
Who has been your biggest cheerleader throughout this process?
My girlfriend Kim. She’s been with me throughout my whole startup career: when I had no money, when I had no time to do anything but work, and when I had a lot of money (she really enjoyed this period). I would not be where I am if it wasn’t for her.
How do you picture your company in 5 years?
Successful exit :)
Where can our readers get ahold of you? Facebook? Twitter? Google+? Personal blog?
You can find me here: