When April Johnson launched Happied, she had one goal in mind: to connect the D.C. community with as many happy hours as possible.
Johnson first launched the idea of Happied in 2016 as a blog where she featured and reviewed happy hours she’d been to, but after the idea was received so well by the community, she upgraded to an interactive database via website in 2017.
Now with the app, you can search for happy hours by day, time, location and then filter to find the specific type of spot you’re in the mood for. The app’s data is live and ever changing to ensure users have the most accurate happy hour information. Johnson told Technical.ly that the company spent two months in the design and logic phase and three and a half months in development to bring the Happied app to fruition.
But that’s not all the Happied app can do. Users can review happy hours, save their favorites in folders and check in to locations to earn points.
“We know that all happy hours are not created equal. For example, a dollar off a beer doesn’t really cut it. We’ve developed a proprietary rating system to allow our app users to determine if a happy hour spot is worth their time,” Johnson told Technical.ly.
Johnson said that for restaurants and bars, the Happied app is a full-fledged happy hour analytics platform. Restaurants and bars have access to an online portal where they update their happy hour information and view analytics on how users are interacting with their venue. Their updates sync to the app in real time, helping the Happied team maintain the accuracy of the happy hour data on the app. Happied also helps venues better understand how to use their happy hours to attract and retain customers.
But how did Happied get 450 active happy hours listed in one place?
Happied CTO and COO Frank Goodman led the development of the company’s app with a team from his other company, Bleeding Bulb, which builds apps and supports small business growth. Goodman and his team now manage the app as happy hours are continuously changing and being added.
Johnson explained that Happied was built as a hybrid app using Ionic, so it can be compatible for both iOS and Android users.
“Choosing Ionic allowed us to cost-effectively and quickly launch on both platforms, while providing quality sufficient for the v1 app,” Johnson said. “For our backend, we chose PHP and leverage AWS. It’s definitely not our forever tech stack but we feel it will communicate the value and need of Happied to customers and future partners.”
Here’s a look at the app’s interface:
On May 1, Happied will launch a Work Hard, Play Harder (WHPH) subscription program, where users can upgrade for a fee and gain access to extended happy hours that go until 9 p.m. at five different locations each month.
“Our subscribers are, in essence, paying to be able to explore new venues,” Johnson said. “For restaurants and bars, it’s a great, cost-effective way to get more people in the door – people that otherwise may not have known about the venue or had any incentive to try it out. We get these people in the venue’s doors and they then have the opportunity to wow them and convert them to regulars. It’s a win-win.”
Since Happied is bootstrapped, the company makes money through the subscription program, which was piloted last year. Happied will also be launching paid advertising options for restaurants, bars and spirit brands this quarter to feature on the app. Johnson said the company also has plans to launch a $500,000 funding round this quarter and is also considering crowd-investing as an option.
By year-end, Johnson said the company plans to scale to the larger DMV region (look out Technical.ly Baltimore). She also gave some thanks to the #dctech community in getting to this point with her company:
“The D.C. startup community has been incredible in supporting Happied. We are a member of the WeWork Labs Navy Yard location, and are grateful for the resources and connections made there,” Johnson said. “Our sales process was significantly improved through a sales training and subsequent coaching by a fellow member, William Kasper. We also participated in 1863 Ventures’ Emerging Entrepreneurs program, which was also tremendously helpful in our growth.”
The app’s algorithm is constantly being improved to show users the most relevant happy hours, so Johnson said if you notice something is off, don’t be afraid to give the team a shout as they improve.
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