Minneapolis dev firm MentorMate is spinning out a mobile startup


mentormate-logo1What started as a custom mobile development project inside Uptown-based MentorMate has grown into a standalone startup company.

BevEngine is the result of a collaboration between France 44 owner Rick Anderson and MentorMate CEO Bjorn Stansvik.

As a veteran liquor retailer, Anderson had initially hired MentorMate for a “purpose-fit loyalty app to deepen the relationship with customers.”

The results were so positive that the duo have decided to form a joint venture and scale it out.

Screen Shot 2014-04-09 at 11.03.46 AMWith Anderson as the ‘domain expert’, Stansvik as the CEO, and MentorMate as the team — BevEngine has $500k seed capital behind it in hopes of becoming the market leader in mobile for liquor retailers nationwide.

The product is so fresh that it doesn’t have a website yet, but the proof-of-concept built for Anderson’s ‘Club 44’ is on iTunes.

Described as comprehensive and custom (yet still turnkey), the mobile app integrates full POS with data analytics, affiliate and loyalty marketing and other features.

By tying in a customers/members purchase history with favorites and new releases, the app learns personal taste and makes personalized recommendations. By combining such targeted promotions with loyalty incentives, Anderson has “Significantly increased conversions and sales, turning an ROI on the app investment within nine months.”

MentorMate President James Williams says the market is mostly characterized by lots of smaller players, save for the Costco, Trader Joe’s and Total Wine’s of the world.

“Niche markets represent huge opportunities and the success with Rick proves that it works. We see conservatively see this as a $12m market at 500 stores.”

“I’m inside the industry and I know where the mines are,” Anderson adds with confidence.