This summer, two recent McGuire Center for Entrepreneurship alumni launched their venture in Tucson, Tempe, and Scottsdale. BarSential is a mobile app available through the Apple store that allows consumers to access discounts on nightlife amenities including drinks, bottle service, admission, and food.
“I first conceived the concept in 2007, as a freshman, after I was exposed to the CatCard reloadable smart chip card,” explained John Rushworth, co-founder and CEO, who graduated in 2011. “I did some research and built the model for how the business would work.”
His initial concept, BarCard, was a physical card that could be preloaded with cash via an online platform. “I took this idea into the McGuire Entrepreneurship Program,” Rushworth said. “Understanding technology made me present the idea of taking this BarCard concept and making it an app, based on the fact that an app is much more customizable and is a growing, new technology market.”
After completing the program, Rushworth entered the corporate world, but after nine months, the timing was right, and he contacted his McGuire teammate, Eytan Ben-Yeoshua. The two reformed the company and began working on launch.
In addition to providing a simple solution for consumers to access nightlife discounts, BarSential provides a full-tech solution for promotions, eliminating the need for paper coupons and merchant hardware integrations. Merchants can publish offers customized for their businesses and track the effectiveness of these special offers with BarSential’s analytics suite. BarSential allows for faster transaction turnover at bars and clubs, allowing them to serve more customers.
“We have been and still are hiring aggressively for positions throughout Arizona,” Rushworth said. “These positions help to grow our user and merchant base.” He and Ben-Yeoshua are also seeking investment and hope to close a round by year’s end. “With investments, we will be able to expand nationally, outside of Arizona, and re-build the app based on the information we have collected from our current merchant and user base,” Rushworth said. “The service will be even more beneficial to the end-user.”
He credits the McGuire Center for helping him prepare for investor pitches. “Being an alumnus of the McGuire Entrepreneurship Program is a huge benefit to our business,” he said. “Launching in Arizona also has great benefits, but still, 90% of what you learn comes outside of the program, upon launching a business!”
Learn about student ventures and more on McGuireExperience.com.