When PopUp launched the public beta version of their iPhone app on June 10, no one explicitly asked me to try it. It was the app’s functionality that sold me on taking the time to download it, figure it out, and get a few friends to do the same so I could experience it.
PopUp allows users to leave mobile notes for others at places. When the recipient arrives at that place, the note pops up.
Here’s what I’ve done with it: A PopUp for a lovely cohabitant telling him, upon arrival at our house, that if he takes my last Diet Mountain Dew he will regret it. PopUps at restaurants that tell my network what the best dish is. PopUps triggered if my Raleigh friends pass into Chapel Hill saying I can’t believe they’re on my side of the Triangle and haven’t called me yet, WTF.
The company is led by CEO Dov Cohn who has spent 14 years in the mobile space. Cohn had been kicking around the product idea for several years while in leadership roles at other companies (he was at Motricity and was then SVP at Appia until the beginning of this year).
When I asked Cohn what made him leave his senior role at Appia to pursue the idea, he pointed to the persistence of the idea and the draw of being a founder.
“This was something I’d been thinking about and working on since 2007. I really wanted to do location-based content deliveryand create something from the ground up,” said Cohn.
So once he thought the market was ready, he teamed up with Fitch Carrere, who he met at Appia, and Jason Humphries, formerly at Sageworks,to form the founding team. That was in September of 2012, and the company has been on a steady roll ever since.
In the fall of 2012, PopUp received an NC IDEA grant and was accepted into Triangle Startup Factory. Cohn left Appia to join Carrere and Humphries full-time at PopUp in early 2013, and a few weeks ago, they launched the public beta version of their iPhone app. They’re now closing on a $300,000 angel round.
Later this summer, PopUp will be launching local contests and events, showcasing the app’s ability to both provide useful information for consumers and draw traffic to businesses.
Cohn explained, “Now a local business like Lonerider Beer, can leave PopUps for all of their followers at every retail merchant that sells Lonerider, with an offer, promotion, or encouraging message. Or a single retailer, like Top of the Hill, can reach all their followers around Chapel Hill with messages that encourage visits to the restaurant.”
The first contest, scheduled to launch in late August, will allow users to discover secret menu items at restaurants throughout Durham.