This startup wants to help you pay for your meal, and someone else's - Technical.ly Baltimore

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Apr. 17, 2015 12:31 pm

This startup wants to help you pay for your meal, and someone else’s

As the end of AccelerateBaltimore nears, the impact-minded Full Society turns to crowdfunding to finish development of its restaurant bill-paying app. $50,000 gets your name tattooed on a staffer. (For real.)
How the Full Society app works.

How the Full Society app works.

(Courtesy image)

You’re at a restaurant with a group, and the time comes to split the bill. When the check drops, an otherwise pleasant dinner could easily devolve into awkwardness, bickering or, even worse, unspoken hard feelings.

Full Society wants to keep the mood of the meal on the good side, and help people give back at the same time.

The Baltimore startup’s app, which is currently in development, is designed to make paper checks unnecessary, and paying easer. The founders say it integrates with restaurant point-of-sale systems to provide a copy of the bill on the app. It will also have tools to split up the bill and calculate tip.

Then, there’s a chance to give back. Before paying, the founders say the app will offer a chance for users to donate money toward a meal for someone in need.

“Our pledge is to give a meal to someone in need, for every table that pays for the app,” said Lauren Cantlin, who cofounded the startup with her sister Paige and friend, Mike Klicos.

Just like they’re making it easier to pay, Cantlin said the app also makes it easier to help people in need of a meal. The startup has already identified local chapters of Paul’s Place and Helping Up Mission as the nonprofits that will receive the funds in 2015.

The startup plans to launch the app this summer. Right now, the four-person team is nearing the end of its time as cohort members of AccelerateBaltimore, the accelerator run by the Emerging Technology Centers. Full Society received $25,000 in seed funding along with that opportunity. To finish development, however, the company is turning to crowdfunding.

This week, the four-person team launched an IndieGoGo campaign that has a $20,000 fixed funding goal, and a stretch goal of $50,000. Some of the perks include memberships to the members-only foodie gathering, Dinner Lab, and, for the highest donors ($50,000 and up), a tattoo of your name somewhere on a team member’s body.

Support by May 15

The project grew out of research undertaken by Paige Cantlin as she worked toward her MBA at Johns Hopkins University. Paige convinced her sister, Lauren, to help with some graphic design on the project. When Lauren learned more about the project and its socially conscious aim, she was the one doing the convincing of Paige to turn it into a full-fledged business.

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Right now, the team is working to develop the prototype of the app as AccelerateBaltimore’s Demo Day nears at the end of the month.

The business will be for-profit, and the team is considering business models, such as a transaction fee each time the app is used.

They also plan to distribute beacons to participating restaurants so patrons’ phones tell them when they’re near an eatery that uses the app.

So far, Full Society has reached out to 25 restaurants, and has set a goal to be in 50 local eateries by the time the app is ready to launch.

“The specific kind of restaurant that we’re targeting is a mid-upscale restaurant,” Lauren Cantlin said.

They realize that there are other such apps out there, but the team believes presenting the opportunity to help feed the hungry is what sets them apart. The chance to make change is also keeping them going.

Communications Director Jamie Winder (who, full disclosure, is a former contributor to Technical.ly Delaware) called it a way to “bridge the gap between the wealthy community and the people that are less fortunate.”

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