Whether you’re looking for a chain coffee shop, a drive through or the shop that serves as a city’s cultural mecca, you can find your next cup of joe using the app from Toronto startup Find Me Coffee. We’re all aware that Toronto has one of the largest startup ecosystems in the western hemisphere, and a lot of that innovation is being fueled by coffee.
Find Me Coffee makes it easy to find the nearest coffee shop using your smart phone.
We got a chance to talk with the team behind Find Me Coffee. Check out the interview below.
What is Find Me Coffee?
Find Me Coffee does exactly that, it is an app for iPhone, iPad,
Android, Windows Phone and Kindle and a website.
We helping coffee lovers find nearby coffee shops & coffee deals, all
around the world.
We are also excited about our new feature launching this month which
is a Cafe Products and Services directory which will let product and
service suppliers to the cafe industry create a listing page similar
to our coffee shop listings to allow consumers to find which shops
carry their product and help coffee shops to to contact these
companies to carry new products.
Our users want coffee now whether they are travelers, coffee
aficionados or deal seekers. We help everyone from those just looking
for a quick cup of joe from a drive thru to the laptop warriors
looking for a shop with Wi-fi. With one touch we figure out where you
are and show you everything that we have that is close to you.
Directions, phone number and more information are only one touch away.
Who are the founders and what are their backgrounds?
Raymond Williamson and Scott Magnan are both from Toronto Canada. We
have been technology developers, marketers and innovators for over
twenty years but mostly in the background and developing cool things
for other people.
Ray was the technical creator of iCraveTV back in the mid 90’s. This
was the first TV to Internet broadcast company in Canada. Ray has
worked in many projects as the chief architect and clipboard holder
for innovative dating sites, job boards, loyalty systems, promotions
and campaigns. And Scott has been the Chief Technical Resource to
make sure that things just work, are scalable and reliable.
Where are you based?
Our head office is in Toronto, Ontario and we also have a second
office in Vancouver, BC
What’s the startup scene/culture like where you’re based?
The start-up environment in Toronto is amazing. There are so many
great ideas and idea people here that it’s intoxicating.
How did you come up with the idea for Find Me Coffee?
That’s a funny story. It was an accident, sort of. We were in the
process of taking all of our knowledge and expertise in building
modular scalable directories and creating a platform that we call
Grexen – (Latin for Flock). We were creating a demonstration website
that would showcase our features, functions and our SEO and on-line
marketing skills. We called that Demo www.FindMeCoffee.com. 3 months
after we launched the demo we started to get great feedback and
excellent traffic so we did a little research on the possible
viability of doing this for ourselves and decided to go for it. We
didn’t want to completely abandon our successful consulting practice
so we hired Pierre Burns out of Vancouver to run with the ball for us.
We’re so impressed with his skills that we’re looking to bring him in
as a partner. And here we are.
What problem does Find Me Coffee solve?
In my career I have traveled a lot. It was not uncommon to be on the
road in different cities for days at a time. I think that I’ve
visited almost every major and medium sized city in Canada and USA and
Europe. When I travel even in a city close to where I am I often need
a place to sit down collect my thoughts, take some notes and get ready
for an upcoming meeting.
I’d always thought of the coffee shop or café as the ultimate meeting
place. If I have these needs then I was sure that many other people
would have them too. We did a lot of surveying and research and found
out that the need for a Café as a meeting place or a port in a storm
is as common as anything we’ve come across for all walks of life,
demographic and taste.
So the problem we solve is to give the consumer easy access to a warm
friendly place and to allow them to find the one that suits their
taste. From the Coffee Shop or Café’s perspective we are a channel to
share their story with people who might be interested enough visit.
What’s your secret sauce?
Our secret sauce is the simple way that a user can get access to so
much information quickly. One touch for location, one touch for
details one touch for directions. One touch to share your experience
with the world.
I think we are also good listeners. Find Me Coffee is for coffee
lovers, I read all the feedback we get from our customers and we as a
team vet and make sure we try to incorporate these suggestions into
new versions as best we can.
Are you bootstrapped or funded?
We are boot strapped. We run a modestly successful development shop
with a great team. We made a decision that we would get to the point
where we had enough revenue to be self-sustaining before we went
looking for financial partners. We’re almost at that stage now so
we’re planning to start engaging with potential investors this year.
With our technology we could roll out similar APPs and Directories
like Find Me Coffee in very short order. All we need is creative and
data. We have plans for FindMeTakeOut, FindMeTea and FindMeWhatever
but those will have to wait for funding.
What are some milestones you’ve achieved?
We think that we’ve launched a great product. We get great feedback
and we’re getting lots of organic, crowd sourced locations and
contributions to www.findmecoffee.com every day. We’ve got APPs for
IOS, Android, Kindle, and Windows 8 Mobile.
What’s your next milestone?
Our next milestone is to get our products locator service and our
deals launched and self sustaining and to generate enough revenue to
keep moving forward.
What’s one challenge you’ve overcome in the start-up process?
The biggest challenge that we’ve overcome in the process is getting
the creative just right. The world is seeing version 3 of our look
and feel. We’ve been pretty picky so far about getting the UI as easy
as possible and we’re tweaking it daily.
Who are some of your mentors and business role models?
That’s a really long list. I’d say that whenever we are looking to do
something new I look for as much expertise as I can find. There are so
many experts in the world that are only an email away and with the
right introduction they are often willing to share 15 minutes of their
time and I too always make myself available for anyone who asks. If I
had to name names. From a sales perspective, I’d say my Father, he’s
a great sales person and motivator. In our household we learned early
that every conversation is a relationship building opportunity and
that those shouldn’t be squandered.
From business experience I’d have to go back to my time at College Pro
Painters in the 1980’s. Gregg Clarke is an amazing teacher and
motivator, when I did my business courses later in my career I
realized how much I learned as a franchise manager for College Pro
Painters If it wasn’t for those two people I’d don’t think that I’d
be as successful as I’ve been in my career as an entrepreneur.
What’s next for Find Me Coffee?
We have a pretty extensive laundry list of things that we want to
accomplish. Our primary goal is be the deepest source of information
for consumers, coffee shop owners and suppliers to the industry. Our
Goal is to add tools that will enable people to explore the wonderful
world of the second most popular beverage in the world (second only to
water!). Now that we’ve got finding shops working so well we want to
improve the user experience by sharing deals, reviews, and specific
Our newest features will include a product locator tool. This will
let consumers find specific products within coffee shops and it will
let coffee shop owners reach out to companies to add products to their
store that they didn’t even know about. Eventually when we have
enough data consumers will be able to find for example, coffee shops
with Organic Ethiopian Fair Trade coffee that is slow poured. But
that is still a ways off.
We’ve been piloting a local deals service that will let coffee shops
share their daily specials, promotions, BoGo’s etcetera. Our most
recent deal in Vancouver with the Take Five Cafe chain delivered a 10
fold increase in traffic to their listing, just by utilizing our deal
This will enable us to really provide a micro location based search
engine that is specifically oriented to delivering a coffee based
message to a consumer at the time he or she is looking for coffee.
This will enable the user of the site to see not only the local coffee
shops but all of their deals. We hope to extend that by letting
coffee shops post their menus in the future so keep watching.
Both of these will go into Beta in January with full roll out in time
for Coffee Fest New York.
All of these features are going to be in full release on the website
then on the mobile APP in both English and Spanish. With the goal of
4-6 languages by year end.