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GottaSend saves the day!

click to enlarge HI-TECH HOOCH SLINGER :  A locally produced app allows users to remotely buy drinks for friends, who can redeem them at participating bars like McCarthy’s, Bull’s, Mo/Tav, Frog and Peach, and The Library. - PHOTO BY STEVE E. MILLER
  • PHOTO BY STEVE E. MILLER
  • HI-TECH HOOCH SLINGER : A locally produced app allows users to remotely buy drinks for friends, who can redeem them at participating bars like McCarthy’s, Bull’s, Mo/Tav, Frog and Peach, and The Library.

SLO Town was the first to ban smoking outdoors, the first to make bird feeding a misdemeanor, and the first place you could pee into a waterfall indoors. That’s why it’s no surprise it’s the first city with gottasend.com, the awesome new app that lets you send and receive drinks by web-accessible mobile phone and Internet.

Don’t worry—a gin and tonic isn’t going to squirt into your ear when you answer. It works like this. Go to gottasend.com, download the app, fund your account, get your friends to download the app, then send them a drink, which they can redeem at local bars such as Bulls, McCarthy’s, Mo/Tav, Frog and Peach, and The Library.

The new app and business is the brainchild of SLO High graduate Pat Mayeda, who also received his BS in mechanical engineering and MBA at Cal Poly.

“My girlfriend’s mom sent her flowers, and I looked at the whole FTD model, where you could order in one city and have flowers sent from another,” he explained. “I wanted to try to find a way to mesh that idea and social networking to find a business model that’s sustainable.”

“That, and he wanted free beer,” quipped his business partner, Neil Higgins, another Cal Poly MBA grad and current economics lecturer at Cuesta College.

They plan to continue to develop the app here, expanding to other bars and restaurants in SLO County, before eventually striking out for other
college towns.

The project was a long time in the making because the pair, along with another silent partner, had to figure out how to technically pull it off, but also figure out more basic elements.

“The first obstacle was how to create a revenue stream to make a viable business,” Higgins said.

“There are a number of ways,” Mayeda continued, “but we decided to charge per drink sent. We worked through the business model at 50 cents a drink, and it didn’t make any money, but at 99 cents it did. Other [future] possibilities include advertising, such as bars or alcohol companies.”

Users decide from a menu what drinks to buy, and can even add a tip for the bartender.

GottaSend also just finished its first step toward integrating on Facebook (go to apps.facebook.com/gottasend).

“When you redeem a drink and you have the profile option checked, a post will be made on your Facebook wall,” Higgins explained.

They’re also working on an iPhone app, though iPhone users must currently access the service through gottasend.com. There’s a working app for Android phones, and the bar redemption receptacle is an Android Tablet, which turned out to be the simplest way for bars to participate.

“That’s how we got bars to use it and make it easy for bartenders to redeem,” Higgins said.

“It’s a lot like receiving flowers,” Mayeda added, “except you get to decide when you want to receive them.”

Fast facts

The SLO County Sheriff’s Department is seeking bike donations for its 2010 Christmas Bike Program, which began 20 years ago to promote the holiday spirit by giving away refurbished bikes and new helmets to local underprivileged children. If you have an unneeded bike in disrepair, you can donate it to the department at any of their patrol stations, or call 781-4643 to request a pick up. The program uses inmates at the Honor Farm to either assemble donated new bikes or repair donated broken bikes. If you’d rather make a monetary contribution to purchase repair parts or new helmets, send a check to Sheriff’s Advisory Council, Attn: Bicycle Fund, P.O. Box 3752, SLO, CA 93403. …

The City of Atascadero Department of Community Services is now accepting applications for two awesome day classes, the 2010 Holiday BMX Camp and the 2010 Holiday Skateboard Camp. Both take place Dec. 27 through 29, and because the skate camp runs from 9 a.m. to noon, and the BMX camp from noon to 3 p.m., you could do both, shredder! You must be between 8 and 16 years old. The cost for each is $50 for A-Town locals, $55 for out-of-towners. For more info, call 461-5000 or 461-7606. Register online at Atascadero.org.

Glen Starkey wants you to buy him a drink. Tell him you’re going to at gstarkey@newtimesslo.com.

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