Being broke college students, Gerald Huffman and Thomas Trahan realized that they could stretch their dollars a little further and still experience Lafayette, Louisiana by finding bar and restaurant specials and deals. The only problem was that every time each of them would look, they could never easily find those deals. And, in the off-chance that they DID find a deal or special online, it was more than likely outdated and inaccurate. Together, they decided to solve this problem by actively searching for, collecting/verifying, and showing all of those local specials in one easy-to-use app, thus, PLATE was born!
With a working prototype, Thomas and Gerald knew that they would need a little guidance if PLATE had any chance of getting airborne. Following the advice of a ULL professor, the pair applied for incubation space at The Opportunity Machine, a local business incubator. Once they were accepted, they were immediately surrounded by other entrepreneurs, which allowed the team to really begin to hit their stride. After a few months of quick growth and constant testing on the prototype, PLATE was selected as 1 of 9 companies to participate in a local accelerator program called Accelerate Acadiana. It was here that the two began to hone and craft their business model, which resulted in an immediate understanding of exactly what they would need to put PLATE on the path to success. First thing on the list? Find two seasoned app developers.
Filling Out the Team
In February of 2018, after months of interviews and searching, Thomas and Gerald found the two outstanding developers/Co-Founders they were looking for in Trent Guillory and Kaleb Matherne. After a few meetings, the concept of PLATE resonated well with both Trent and Kaleb, who saw the value for both the involved businesses and the users. Having built a handful of other successful applications in the past, Kaleb and Trent knew exactly what it would take to turn the app envisioned into a reality. So, in true startup fashion, they rolled up their sleeves, filled up a few dozen whiteboards, and began the task of building the app. PLATE had now become a team of 4 and was steadily moving towards their next goal: Launch Day.
After a few months of intense app development, PLATE finally launched to the public on August 22nd, 2018 with its first group of participating bar and restaurant partners. It was during this time the the concept and app were put to the test, resulting in a great reception by a new user-base, and a few tweaks on both the user and business-facing sides. Growth continues to be consistent across the board with no signs of fatigue or slow growth in sight. With a growing list of partnering businesses and interest building in nearby cities, the team at PLATE is excited to bring the newest app in the bar and restaurant space to cities throughout the region. Will your city be next?
How'd You Come Up With the Name PLATE?
We get this question a lot, so we figured we would answer it here! PLATE is actually an acronym that stands for PLAces To Eat and drink. Clever, right?