The host at the restaurant told them that it would be two hours before they could be seated. Hesitant to wait that long, the three decided to look for another place to eat. “But when we started calling restaurants around the South Park area,” Walker said “we were given similar wait times.” Unable to find dinner and miles away from home, the group was stuck. And although the group eventually did find a place to eat, they said they we too disappointed, frustrated, and hangry to enjoy it.
Later that night– and after the hanger subsided– Downes posed a question to his friends: can we make an app that tracks restaurant wait times? The group first brought this question to 3 Day Startup Davidson, an entrepreneurial bootcamp that teaches students the basics of startup life and culture. Here, their idea was met with a lot of enthusiasm by 3 Day Startup participants.
“3 Day Startup helped us go from three students with an idea to three budding entrepreneurs with a plan. We learned about customer discovery and the basics of Lean Startup methodology,” said Downes.
After launching their idea at 3 Day Startup, the group took their project to Davidson’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative, which connected them with mentors, resources, and a summer residency at Queen City Forward, an incubator for budding entrepreneurs. At Queen City Forward the group spent most days developing “NODA Wait Times,” a Krouded prototype that provides wait times for restaurants in Charlotte’s art district. In its current iteration, the app allows users to search restaurants by location and visit restaurant profiles to find and share restaurant wait times.
This spring, the group says they will compete in the Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative’s “Venture Fund,” a pitch competition for Davidson students and alumni, which annually gives winners a $10,000 no-strings-attached seed fund.
Downes, Hatcher, and Walker, who are all rising juniors, say that with the help of Davidson’s Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative they will continue developing Krouded throughout the school year. “We have a strong relationship with Davidson Innovation and Entrepreneurship Initiative,” Walker said. “We cannot thank I&E initiative enough for connecting us with the resources we need,” Hatcher echoed. By their senior year, the group hopes to have launched Krouded in all major US cities, and after graduation they hope to launch the app abroad.
Keep an eye out for Krouded, and in the meantime check out “NODA Wait Times,” available on iPhone App Store.