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We&Co is a new location-based app that is all about great service. If you receive excellent customer service you can 'thank' those responsible. It's a fine concept, given the importance of customer experience in modern business.

I asked co-founder Ryan Jones to provide us with a lowdown on the app...

In one sentence, what is We&Co?

We&Co is a location-based social app for people who provide and enjoy great service.  

What problems does We&Co solve? 

We interact with hundreds, if not thousands, of people every year. However, in some respects, we’ve lost the ability to build human relationships in our rapid-fire world of “always on” and “quick transaction”. 

Facebook has helped us reconnect with family and friends. LinkedIn is a place to connect with colleagues. Through the power of a mobile "thank”, We&Co helps you connect and build relationships with the people who provide you outstanding service on a daily basis, but aren't easily bucketed. The woman who cuts your hair just how you like it, or, the barista who makes that perfect cup of coffee, for example.  

Additionally, to date, employees at the point of sale have not really been involved in location based marketing. We&Co is the first app focused on empowering employees within a business via mobile, location based tools. 

We&Co enables great service providers to track & build an audience of patrons who appreciate the great experiences they provide, fostering 1:1 relationships that truly build customer loyalty in store. 

When and why did you launch it? 

We&Co was launched on July 16th. Our team is passionate about using technology to facilitate the creation of new human (real) relationships. We launched We&Co to elevate and empower service sector employees and spread a little more joy in our increasingly cynical world. 

Who is your target audience? 

Popular location based social apps out there today are often focused on attracting 18-25 males who go out a lot. We are hoping to grow the social location based space by attracting more women and a slightly older demographic now adopting smart phones… folks that tend to appreciate great service experiences and people.  

In addition, we want to involve more employees in location based marketing, so we've built a game that allows employees to compete to become "The Boss" if they receive the most "Thanks" from patrons over a 30 day period.

What are your immediate goals? 

In the short term we are looking to build traction in a couple of key cities in the US and continue tweaking the App based on user feedback. We'd also love to build a web app so that people without smart phones can claim their profiles and send thanks online. 

Additionally, we've seen strong demand for an Android App, so we'll be looking to get that out as soon as we can. 

What were the biggest challenges involved in building We&Co? 

We had a lot of fun building We&Co. Every startup faces a whole host of challenges early on, so it is important to have a purpose that drives you every day. 

The We&Co team is intensely motivated by the chance to elevate and empower great service people who work hard to provide outstanding experiences.    

How is We&Co funded? 

We are currently funded by generous angels.  

How will the company make money? 

As We&Co grows, we will look to provide premium features for employees and businesses to grow and enhance their communities and 1:1 relationships. In addition, we plan to offer integrated sponsorship and targeted advertising over time.

Who is in the team and what does it look like?  

Co-founders are Marc Mathieu (SVP Unilever), Jared Malan (ex BeDo), and Ryan Jones (ex P&G). TJ Muehlemann (CTO) and Meggan Wood (Creative Dir.) round out the core team. 

We&Co's strong business purpose attracts a lot of motivated people and active volunteers in the "Thankforce" a grassroots effort born in Atlanta, London and New York.

Where would you like to be in one, three and five year’s time? 

1 Year:  Key location based player with significant user base and strong initial employee acceptance. 

3 Years: Globally-recognised location-based player with strong brand partnerships

5 Years: Potential for public offering.

Chris Lake

Published 9 August, 2011 by Chris Lake

Chris Lake is CEO at EmpiricalProof, and former Director of Content at Econsultancy. Follow him on Twitter, Google+ or connect via Linkedin.

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