Elevator Pitch: Paying to Skip the Velvet Rope
BY April Joyner
Line Genie lets nightclub goers skip the line and cover charge by paying up front for the bar tab. Should investors pick up a $500,000 round?
Why Wait? Line Genie co-founders Trevor Schwartz (left) and John Clifford outside a Boston nightclub.
Company: Line Genie
Co-founders: Trevor Schwartz and John Clifford
Launched: July 2011
2011 revenue: $40,000
2012 Projected Revenue: $500,000
Number of venues: Two
Price of gift card: $50 or $100
Commission from venues: 10 percent
Number of customers served to date: 1,700
Funding sought: $500,000
The Pitch: "Imagine never having to wait in line again. Line Genie offers this service at bars and nightclubs. Customers simply make a reservation at one of our participating venues by purchasing a $50 or $100 gift card, good for food and drinks, on LineGenie.com. They and a guest then get to skip the line and don't have to pay the cover charge. The venues benefit by receiving an upfront spending commitment. We earn a commission on each gift-card sale. We also include a text marketing service for venues to send offers to customers who have bought our gift cards. Eventually, we plan to become the OpenTable for any industry faced with inefficient lines, such as theme parks and museums. We're raising money to fund sales and marketing, expand to more cities, and develop mobile applications."
Create more buzz
I wonder what Line Genie's marketing strategy will be. Getting enough nightclubs on board to make its product interesting to patrons will be challenging. Maybe the company should allocate a chunk of its fundraising toward unique publicity that will get it some press. It might also be worthwhile to see about raising money from nightclub owners. If those owners have relationships with other nightclubs in the city, it could make the sales process a little easier.
—Hambleton Lord, Managing Director, Launchpad Venture Group, Boston
Go Beyond Boston
This is a good pitch, but I'm not sure Line Genie is solving a big-enough problem. I'd be surprised if there were 20 nightclubs in Boston that have long lines of people outside the door. For now, I think the company should bootstrap. New York City seems like the critical market for establishing its viability. If the company can build a presence there and in a couple of other cities, then it might be able to attract some money.
—Martin Lowenthal, Member, Boston Harbor Angels, Boston
Try new Industries
I'm not a big fan of technology for bars and restaurants, because they are relatively unstable businesses. But I do like that Line Genie aims to become the OpenTable for other industries. If it could identify other sectors to go after and figure out how to acquire those customers effectively, then I would take a look. If Line Genie could collect data for business intelligence, such as customer feedback, that would add even more value for the businesses that use it.
—David Verrill, Founder and Managing Director, Hub Angels, Cambridge, Massachusetts