Localeur, an Austin-based startup, is an app that lets locals find and share the best places to eat, drink, and play. On Wednesday, JetBlue announced a partnership with Localeur.
The partnership will tailor unique, destination-related content delivered to JetBlue customers through the airline’s digital and social channels.
“Being able to enhance the complete travel experience of our customers is something JetBlue is passionate about,” said Elizabeth Windram, brand and advertising director, JetBlue. “A list of tourist attractions is nice, but being able to provide unique, credible content and hidden gems from Localeur is what turns a pleasant vacation into an unforgettable one.”
Joah Spearman, Localeur’s co-founder and CEO, recently spoke with BlackEnterprise.com about the birth of his company and his background.
BlackEnterprise.com: What differentiates Localeur from other crowd-sourced review apps such as Yelp?
Spearman: I think what differentiates us: We wanted to build something that was more authentic and really more focused on quality. We wanted to help those local, young businesses that sometimes struggle to complete with chains.
Yelp focuses on reviews. We looked at Foursquare and their focus is on location.
We felt the way to build more authenticity [was to have] the places [Localeur users] write about and review be local businesses. You won’t find a Starbucks or Applebees—those businesses have multimillion-dollar marketing.
What is your entrepreneurial background?
I used to own a local business in Austin, a sneaker boutique. Over 60% of my business was people visiting Austin. An app like Localeur would have helped my business; you go on Yelp and typically you will see Footlocker; these chain [stores].
How did you fund Localeur?
When we started, we launched at SXSW in 2013 and unlike a lot of startups we didn’t have Silicon Valley connections and money. So the day we launched, March 1, 2013, we only had 17 days of money left in the bank.
We had a really successful launch. The first person I pitched was Clayton Christopher, the founder of Sweet Leaf Tea (sold to Nestlé) and Deep Eddy Vodka (sold to Heaven Hill Brands). He introduced me to a member of Central Texas Angel Network and from there I called another 10 folks of which eight chose to invest at that time.
Spearman also says about the partnership, “I’m particularly excited about the timing of our partnership in light of recent news that JetBlue is looking for more brand extensions and strategic ways to enhance how they do things. I think their overall brand— since they were launched 16 years ago—is very much in line with Localeur’s in that it’s authentic, it’s millennial-friendly and is currently still a very U.S.-centric airline matching our current focus.”