By: Bianca Buliga, Senior Marketing Manager
Darren Smith and Austin Auclair are on a mission to promote and preserve historic areas and independent merchants. Traipse provides a platform for local tourism and business development organizations to engage residents and visitors in a way that bolsters local economies and promotes locally-owned businesses alongside historic and cultural assets.
As a new offering in that menu of tools, Traipse is building My Local Token, a Main Street payment platform that replaces plastic gift cards, introduces a flexible loyalty program for local businesses, reduces merchant transaction fees, promotes a “shop local” mentality, and improves customer engagement, all at once.
As the Trapise team starts preparing for Virtual Demo Day on Tuesday, April 14th, the SEED SPOT team sat down with Darren and Austin to learn more about this venture’s journey:
What inspired you to start your venture?
My Local Token was born when a city in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley approached us looking for a digital replacement to their antiquated plastic gift card program, which is meant to promote the shops in their historic downtown. As we discussed their needs and began speaking with other clients about what we were working on, the unbridled enthusiasm we received in response to the project made us realize that we had just discovered a large, untapped opportunity.
What did you hope to gain by applying to SEED SPOT’s Impact Accelerator program?
We had a lot of pieces already in place to start talking about and developing the My Local Token product, but we saw the SEED SPOT Impact Accelerator program as a way to help focus our efforts, refine our messaging, and to actually cross the finish line.
What’s the most valuable lesson you learned during the Impact Accelerator?
When launching a new business, you don’t know what you don’t know. Being in the SEED SPOT Impact Accelerator program helped us figure out what we were missing in order to bring our idea to fruition.
What does the future hold for your venture?
Launching the My Local Token product and helping local-scale economies grow and prosper.
What is one piece of advice you have for entrepreneurs just beginning their journey?
It’s easy to become too focused on small, but easy-to-accomplish tasks in launching your business. Don’t shy away from checking off the bigger, scarier items on your to-do list.
Good luck to Darren and Austin as they gear up to compete at DC Virtual Demo Day on Tuesday, April 14th. To hear them pitch to an online audience for the opportunity to win cash prizes, please RSVP HERE.