Too often, Durham's start-up tech scene seems to occupy a world apart from everyday life. There are those who code and program and create things digitally, and then there are those who open (or frequent) new restaurants and food trucks and businesses. In reality, by focusing on innovation, creativity and filling a hole in the marketplace, these two communities have much in common.
PopUp, a new mobile app created by graduates of the Triangle Startup Factory, is bridging the gap between startup technology and Durham's burgeoning food scene. For two weeks beginning Aug. 16, PopUp will present a digital scavenger hunt throughout Durham. By downloading the iOS app, users can leave digital, location-based notes at businesses, restaurants or venues. These notes then pop up on the phones of any app user who arrives at the location where the note has been left. You can leave behind recommendations for menu items ("Ask for the curry aioli") or reminders for yourself ("Pick up milk"). The app also has the potential for dating purposes ("I'm the brunette by the window, come talk to me"), but PopUp may not be looking to tap into that.
For the Bull City Secrets scavenger hunt, downloading the app will reveal a list of local businesses offering secret menu items, discounts and giveaways. Users who go to those locations will see discounts and off-menu offers pop up on their phones. The user who redeems and shares the most pop-ups will win $500, and the business with the most "secrets" revealed will win $500 for a favorite charity.
Is this the next FourSquare? Or just a clever way to get people to blow a bunch of money chasing $500? Let's find out! —Emma D. Miller