As published on The App Association blog on July 28, 2020.
Pivoting with Platforms
Q: We last checked-in just before the benefit concert in April – can you tell us how that went?
A: We’re really proud of the work that went into the Bridge the Gap benefit concert in April, especially with how many different businesses across industries came together to make it happen. It was during a very dark and uncertain time in the hospitality industry, so we wanted to create something that provided support, hope, and of course financial resources to this industry that was so severely impacted by the shutdowns. We put the concert together within a matter of weeks and raised a little more than $12k to give back to our community.
Q: That’s so great to hear – props for an amazing event! Last time we spoke, we discussed how Vemos has had to pivot during COVID-19. You know, your business is focused around the hospitality industry with your primary clients being bars, clubs, and concert venues, and the COVID-19 crisis has changed the landscape quite a bit. You guys did some great work connecting people with teachable skills to an audience ready to learn, but I know you have recently rolled out an exciting new product. Can you fill us in?
A: We’ve pivoted a couple times since the COVID-19 shutdowns to continue to be a supportive partner for our customers. As you mentioned, our customers are bars, clubs, and concert venues, and they historically used our products to be able to understand and grow their business, as well as provide exceptional guest experience. That experience of course changed as soon as they were no longer able to have people gather in their spaces, so we worked alongside our customers to provide them a solution to host virtual interactive events and classes.
Once that was all set up, we quickly shifted gears to build out our new product, Vēmos Pay.
Vēmos Pay is a consumer app that allows you to view, split, and pay your check at restaurants and bars. There aren’t any added fees. It takes the headaches out of splitting the check with your friends, provides transparency so you can see what’s been added while you dine, and eliminates the need to wait for your check when you’re ready to pay & leave.
On the venue side, Vēmos Pay mimics the process of taking a credit card by sending payment directly through their point of sale system. It makes the whole checkout process easier for their staff so they can continue to focus on providing great hospitality to their guests, not to mention they’re no longer touching their guests’ credit cards – an important detail amidst a pandemic.
Q: So, talk me through the process of rolling out this feature and the pivot from being strictly B2B (business to business) and expanding into B2C (business to consumer). What did that look like? Was COVID-19 the inspiration for this?
A: A consumer app has always been on our mind from the company’s inception, and COVID-19 brought the timing of this opportunity front and center for us. It also raised the opportunity of being able to expand our B2B offerings into restaurants as well, which was another evolution of our company we had always anticipated. We knew we had to jump on this opportunity quickly and provide a safe solution for not only our existing customers, but also for the restaurant industry and the consumers supporting these establishments.
Because we were prepared with our early visions of having a consumer app that supported all of hospitality, we were able to design, develop, and launch this app pretty quickly. Our development team was able to quickly identify the best framework to build the app based on our drawings of our initial visions from years ago. Our design team was then able to finesse the designs and UI flow based on the platform the dev team was using to build. And because we have so many years of B2B hospitality tech under our belt, we already knew exactly how it would fit into the existing B2B environment so that these restaurant and bar owners didn’t have to think about one more change they needed to make to accept Vēmos Pay payments. That’s why it was so important for us to build this in a way that leveraged the establishment’s point of sale and payment processing systems. Our goal all around was to keep it clean yet powerful for both B2B and B2C, and our team was able to leverage the power platforms to make that happen.
Q: That’s amazing! So, what’s next for Vēmos Pay, can people download now?
A: Vēmos Pay is available for download on both the Apple App Store and Google Play Store with a select few locations in the Minneapolis area as a Beta release. Right now, we’re working on activating B2B locations in a few markets around the country and are planning on fully announcing the release of the Vēmos Pay in August. Right now, users can sign up to be on the waitlist so that they’re notified as soon as it’s fully available, and they’ll get $5 to go toward their first check paid with Vēmos Pay.