Two years ago, SPN profiled DealAnyDay, a Lincoln startup featuring a free mobile app that allows users to search for daily specials or promotions by categories like location, business type or population groups such as college students or military. Last year, the company rebranded to LocalAnyDay.
SPN recently sat down with Founder and CEO Mailani Veney for an update.
“We rebranded to focus on building local communities through a localized search engine,” Veney said. “We’re tackling a global problem with a solution that has tons of traction.”
In the past two years, LocalAnyDay has doubled the number of cities served. It is the number one food and drink app in many of its markets. In 50 cities now, it has plans to expand to 300.
“We had 70 applicants in the last month and hired seven,” said Nick Hutt, Team Manager. Its rewarding knowing who we bring on the team will have a major impact on LocalAnyDay’s future.”
The explosion in mobile device use is a driving force.
“One thing that really sets us apart is that we’ve figured out that people’s buying journey has radically changed with the world switching to mobile,” Veney said. “If your business doesn’t have a mobile presence, you’re invisible.”
There are countless search engines available through mobile devices. What sets LocalAnyDay apart?
“82 percent of people use a search engine when making a local buying decision,” Veney said. “There is worldwide demand for more specialized search engines. We compile information on businesses that no one else packages.”
Veney said the search engine focuses on two factors: price and place.
“Price can mean specials or discounts that don’t involve a coupon, but it’s mostly about value,” she said. “With one of our newest clients, it’s not about the price. It’s a fitness facility that offers unlimited workouts with free personal training. That value speaks to people who want workouts on their schedule, with expert help at no additional cost. We help people see this value.”
What are the keys to success for a localized search engine?
“First of all, it has to be mobile,” Veney said. “And it has to be no hassle. Coupons are a hassle, as is anything that requires you to log in.”
The local focus and the ability to create trust are also essential.
“We want to be seen as trusted and local,” Veney said. “People are coming to us looking for help, like a trusted friend.”
Veney describes the approach as a destination marketing tool.
“Pop-up ads, billboards and commercials are interruptive advertising, disruptive and annoying,” she said. “They are not being intentionally seen. People come to us on their schedule, and we provide trusted information that is relevant to them in the moment.”
LocalAnyDay helps B2C businesses like restaurants, bars, moving companies, dentists, beauty salons and much more. But a meeting at the Collision Conference has opened new doors.
“A group of us went to the conference from Nebraska,” Veney said. “There were 25,000 at this large international tech conference.”
A banker from BNP Paribas, the world’s eighth largest bank, reached out to Veney at the conference.
“Banks have business clients who are struggling to market,” she said. “He was looking for local marketing platforms that can help their banking clients be more successful in local business. LocalAnyDay was the only platform that met his criteria.”
Rather than making a move into the banking vertical in an international market, Veney wanted to try out the concept in the U.S. She found a willing partner in a large Midwest bank.
“We met with a couple of banks, and one quickly said yes,” she said. “They have never done a partnership like this. The bank provides a LocalAnyDay license to their business clients, which benefits their businesses with valuable marketing exposure. And it benefits the bank by strengthening their relationship with their clients through a non-banking tool.”
LocalAnyDay is further expanding their market reach through partnerships with hotels, chambers of commerce, tourism offices and others.
“We’ve opened up this amazing treasure chest of new opportunities,” Veney said. “We look for partners that care about the local community and connecting people with local businesses.”
Veney gives a lot of credit to the support network in Lincoln’s startup community.
“I’m excited about growing from our Nebraska headquarters,” she said. “There is tremendous support from others. I’m part of a CEO Founders group that meets monthly. Don’t Panic Labs is an outstanding partner. Startup Nebraska is a great resource, as are people like Christina Oldfather with the Lincoln Partnership for Economic Development who are advocates for entrepreneurs.”
The bottom line is building a spirit of Aloha, a nod to Veney’s Hawaiian heritage.
“I’m a community builder, communities of Aloha,” she said. “We have so many opportunities to make a difference, to make the world a better place.”
Rod Armstrong is Vice President of Strategic Partnerships for AIM in Lincoln, Nebraska. He is a regular contributor to Silicon Prairie News.