IntoGo, a Jacksonville-based tech company that’s developed an app for finding fun things to do in your city, has big plans for 2017, including working with the City of Jacksonville, joining an accelerator, several new features and a seed round for investment.
One major goal of IntoGo’s CEO Zach Schwartz has been to work with the city. The reasoning, Schwartz said, is that IntoGo is a locally-built app that promotes Jacksonville businesses and activities — something the city wants to do — at no expense to the city.
“All we’re asking is to help get the word out about us,” Schwartz said. “And we can help save the city money by them not having to provide this service. And we help them make money, by having a button on our app where users can reserve a pavilion at city parks or hold an event there.”
Schwartz said he’s in conversations with the city to redirect the MyJax app from Yelp to IntoGo.
Another major step IntoGo has taken is bringing on a partner, in the form ofJim Stallings at the PS27 accelerator program.
“This app is getting to a stage where I’m a young CEO and entrepreneur, and I want to learn,” said Schwartz. “I want to continue to improve my skills and abilities as a leader if this company is going to go national or global, and I’ve done it without a lot of mentorship to date. I don’t think I can get through the next round without leadership skills. Jim has proven himself to be knowledge and helpful to grow IntoGo, and he’s helping out with things like ironing out monetization, moving into new cities and refining my pitch deck.”
Although the partnership has just been going on for a few weeks, Stallings said he was impressed with Schwartz’s persistence and determination.
“Watching him and what he’s done with it, I’m really excited about this new stage,” said Stallings. “This could be not just a Jacksonville directory thing, but could be national or international. There’s a lot of work on the technical side and he has a good team and good plan. I’m looking forward to working with him on the marketing strategy. Once I understood what it did and how unique it is for businesses and saw what the potential is, I got excited.”
Some of that potential includes new features being built for 2017, including the opportunity for businesses to create ads and manage their IntoGo page, just like they do on Facebook or Twitter. Another change will be the app’s GuideMe section: instead of that directing to a place where users can choose what to do, it will have recommendations based on location and time of day. For example, weekdays after work will show nearby recommendations for happy hour, while Sunday mornings will have brunch recommendations. A search option will now include the option for users to choose what to do.
“It’s all to make it easier and simplify it,” Schwartz said. “We want to break through categories and not have things to do be confined to one word. If you’re looking for something for date night, would you look in “dining” or “nightlife” or “drinks?” These new recommendations will have anything you need without having to work for it.”
Schwartz said the app expects to have 4,500 users by the start of 2017. The app also plans to open up in its second city, Orlando, in March. To keep up with that, IntoGo is undergoing a seed round of investment, where it’s looking for $1.5 million — a third of which is already spoken for by some of the company’s angel investors.
The $1.5 million would cover a year of the app operating, Schwartz said.
“We’re looking for new, local investors,” Scwhartz said. “There’s going to be a ton of new features and exciting stuff.”