Beta Byte: *Slinger



SlingerBeta Byte is a series underwritten by Bust Out Solutions for that early stage tech found somewhere between idea and reality. Equally exciting as it is raw. Are you in this phase?

What is the name of the company and/or product? Where is it found online?

*Slinger is a product of Lift.

What problem does this solve?

*Slinger is an impulse mobile gifting platform for events, hospitality, and entertainment venues.  As the mobile payment space continues to expand, mobile gifting is that adjacent space that connects friends to a brand.

What is the full launch/release date planned?

St. Patricks Day or Purim or Spring Break or New Year’s Eve. Wait and see.

Who is on the team?

Cam Gross – the bubble blower
Adam Sellke – the muscle
A few of the best makers in the business from The Bistro (now defunct) segment of Best Buy Emerging Platforms team.

What is the specific technology or combination of technologies, framework, languages, etc. that makes this thing run? Is there any IP?

Right now, it’s a prototype built of duct tape, tinker toys, and an old fan motor.

Actually, it’s a mobile web application using the Sencha Touch framework and the Stripe Payments gateway.  The services are ideal for getting to usable prototypes quickly.

As a scalable product, *Slinger can be a suite of mobile client applications of varying user experiences.

Is there a revenue model?  How big is the market?

The market is only limited by the generosity between friends.  *Slinger has several possible revenue models – as a white label platform for hospitality, beverage industry, entertainment venues, and non-profits.  It may take a job mowing lawns for a while.  But when it grows up, it could be the ubiquitous gateway for spontaneously sending something unexpected to a friend.
Bust Out Solutions

What is your greatest strength?

Cat-like reflexes.  We’ve worked together and shipped together.  This team crushes it.

What is your biggest weakness?

We’re easily distracted when you…. oh… look…. shiny thing.

What is one resource you could use that would take this to the next level?

A fountain of free cash, or nearly free?

Is there anything else you would like to add?

We’ve made some great progress.  We are believers in some principles of the Lean Startup methodology and of Design Thinking.  We made some assumptions about impulse mobile gifting – specifically as it relates to people sharing drinks with a smartphone.  So we tested some of those assumptions.

We ran several tests at Target Field during the Minnesota Twins last home stand with 2 Gingers Irish Whiskey.  We were able to learn a great deal about the foundational behaviors associated with sending a drink from your smartphone.  We were also able to get some initial data about how this kind of application would improve brand engagement within a confined space and time (i.e. a baseball game).

Our next experiment is coming up this Saturday at Surly Darkness Day, where we’ll continue to test our assumptions using the MVP for people to ‘Sling a Surly’ to one another.

The ultimate business model is beyond drinks, but for using the mobile phone to gift a wide variety of goods or services and to be a ubiquitous layer on top of the emerging mobile payment platforms – Square, Dwolla, Amazon Payments, Google Wallet, GoPayment, Breadcrumb by Groupon.

There’s a lot of gnashing of teeth in the payment space, the waters are pretty red and we’re diving in, but don’t have to pick a horse just yet.


  • Jason Sandquist

    Great idea. Worked well when I had the opportunity to try it out at Target Field.

  • Kalpesh Joshi

    Hey gang, really enjoyed reading this series of experiment blog post (Working Code Wins), about iterative testing with your market. Making assumptions and getting an idea of your target market was a nifty idea, and then test, tweak, test, tweak. Lean methodology, love it. Looking forward to seeing another MN biz take over the world – mainly because I love big gingers.