Instant gratification when connecting with others has become the norm.
People no longer want to wait for anything. We want our news, social updates, shipment tracking, banking statements all available instantly with a touch of a button. But what if you could send more than texts and photos to your friends?
The Dollop App allows you to send treats to your friends, regardless of the distance between you. The Dollop App currently works for the NYC area, including over 30 restaurants and coffee shops to redeem your gifted treat with plans to expand soon.
Users can send a gift no matter where they are located, only those who are receiving the gift need to be located in New York City. The app is free to download and is available for both android and iPhone users.
Here’s how it works:
Once you download the app, you’ll need to register with an email address. After your account is created you automatically have $4.50 in reward points. You’ll be prompted to give a referral code, which can add more credit into your account. There is a $.50 delivery charge. Here’s a $10 code from us –> AGENDA.
You can choose between a variety of treats to send including coffee, cupcakes, french fries, burritos, pizza and even wine. You can choose to send up to $16 worth of the food or drink, in $4 increments. After you’ve selected the treat and the amount, you can now send to a friend using their phone number in your contacts or an email address.
The recipient will receive a text message from you, not that app, with a link they can follow to redeem their gift. They also have the power to choose which merchant location is most convenient for them to redeem the gift.
The Dollop App was developed by Anne Jiao, a graduate of Duke University who has transitioned from working in the film and entertainment industry to developing her own app. She received the $25,000 GLIDE incubator grant in 2014 and managed to raise $300,000 in cumulative investments towards product development and marketing. Also upon the founding of the app, Anne filed a patent on the “Digital Transmission of a Gift.”
Her Agenda was able to talk with Anne about how the Dollop came to be:
Her Agenda: Where did the idea for Dollop come from?
Anne Jiao: I was working in LA at the time, and was running late to a meeting at a coffee house in LA. In that moment, being stuck in traffic and all, I was so stressed that I wished I could quickly and easily send a cup of coffee to the colleague I kept waiting. The idea of using technology to remotely put a latte or cupcake in a friend’s hands was and is still important to me because it both humanizes our digital world and offers a personal touch in our absence.
Her Agenda: How long did it take to come to fruition?
Anne Jiao: Dollop is about two years old from idea to product–we beta’d our first version in Cleveland, OH where we went through an accelerator program called LaunchHouse. Our first market launch is in New York City where we’ve been in the last 5 months, and we’ve partnered with more than 35 of the most beloved independent bakeries, coffee houses and cafes including Joe Coffee, Sweet Revenge Cupcakes, and Alidoro Sandwiches.
Her Agenda: What was the fundraising process like? How were you able to raise the initial funding?
Anne Jiao: The fundraising process is always grueling and takes longer than you think. I think the two biggest challenges are finding the right investor with the right fit, and being tenacious about follow up. The first helps in that you don’t want to waste time on someone who is just not going to see eye to eye with your product and being objective about that. Doing the initial research on whether an investor invests in your industry or whether they invest in B2C vs B2B helps to get you in front of the right people and save a lot of time.
The second piece helps in that with the appropriate follow up, you can help your investor see you as less of a risk. It’s important throughout the fundraising process to follow up with a potential investor, to tell them that between the first time you met and the next, that you’ve made progress and are moving forward. I think for Dollop, we successfully raised money by working off of that momentum–where we were showing traction and growth and consistently followed up with potential investors about it to get to a yes or no.
Her Agenda:What has it been like being a woman in tech? What have you learned?
Anne: Jiao: I enjoy being a woman in tech especially in New York, but I do think there are clear advantages and disadvantages. On one hand, being a woman in tech helps you stand out initially. However, because many investors are men, it does take some extra effort in convincing them what you are building is something that they would want–especially if you are building a product primarily for women. At one pitch, an investor asked me how Dollop was different from Venmo–essentially asking “what is the difference between giving and getting cash and giving and getting a real gift?” Beyond the instantaneousness of Dollop vs. Venmo, the women in the room inherently understood that getting a real treat like a cupcake or a drink was emotionally more satisfying and socially more acceptable. While I found that the men there would rather just get cold hard cash. A woman came up to me after the presentation to say “if a man gave me $5 for beer, I would think that was really cheap. But if he gave me a real beer, I would think that was pretty cool.” So I think the lesson here is that if your target customer is very different from your investor, then you need to be able to explain those behavior differences clearly and back it up with traction.
Her Agenda: What advice would you give to others who want to build their own app?
Anne Jiao: I’d say to be open to feedback but tenacious about your vision–which can seem a little contradictory. I think its important to be constantly learning from the people around you, and absorbing that critical feedback like a sponge. But I also think its important to edit–to be able to take all that information you absorb and act upon the ones that are essential to what you set out to build. You really should avoid having too much of either–being too pliable and being formed only by others’ feedback can lead you on a wild goose chase while being only concerned about your own vision will most likely not lead to a commercially successful or fundable product.