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Flowtab

Mobile app to order drinks on nightclubs
Startup Cemetery
GENERAL INFORMATION
Category:
Food & Beverage
Country:
United States
Started:
2011
BUSINESS FAILURE
Outcome:
Shut Down
Cause:
Bad Business Model
Closed:
2013
FOUNDERS & EMPLOYEES
Number of Founders:
1
Name of Founders:
Mike Townsend
Number of Employees:
50-100
FUNDING
Number of Funding Rounds:
0
Total Funding Amount:
-
Number of Investors:
0

What was Flowtab?

Flowtab was a mobile app that wanted to use technology to solve the problem of long queues in bars and hospitality venues. Flowtab created an app that would show users a list of drinks they could order from their mobiles without having to wait for the bartender to take their order. The app was connected to the bar's iPad which would then sync the orders to the POS terminal of the bar and payments would be are sent to the bar's bank account.

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Why did Flowtab fail and shut down?

Flowtab tried various business model but could never found one that was both feasible and profitable. On paper, any bar would have wanted to use such an application. In reality, it proved quite hard for the company to get deals. This type of service requires a large number of users to be profitable since they only charged the customer $1 after they successfully placed an order. However, users don't usually stick to the same bars but would often choose a different one from week to week, and most users only used the app once or twice per month. Things could have still worked out, but when, in a promotional event they invited about hundred people to various clubs, their technology failed them and the founders resorted to serving drinks themselves to angry customers. This caused many people to leave one-star ratings for the app further thinning the chances of the app success.

Since their funding was limited they were also understaffed and a very small team had to take care of everything. After a couple more pivots and some members of the team leaving to pursue other goals, Flowtab finally decided to shut doors.

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