Close

Elevator Pitch: The Realness (WATCH)

Damaris Coulter stands awkwardly in an elevator and pitches her soon-to-be launched app The Realness, which showcases unique owner-operated restaurants that fit certain criteria – and helps diners find them. 

  • Read an extended interview with Coulter about the genesis of the app – and the hospitality scene – here.

Who are you and what are you doing?

I’m Damaris Jean Coulter and I’m building an app that’s going to change how you find owner-operated businesses.

What’s the big idea?

It works by making it easier for you to find a person who owns and operates that restaurant or café. So a restaurant will sign up and if you fit a certain set of values – owner operated, free of big corporates, use ethically sourced animal proteins, and you’ve only got one business – then you can join.

How do you validate that?

We validate it with each other, industry to industry, restaurant to restaurant, café to café.

What makes you different?

It disrupts the current model of advertisers paying for space. TripAdvisor, Menumania, all those sorts of places, you have to buy advertising to sit on those and that’s how they fund themselves. I’m just redistributing some of the wealth and exposure. Unfortunately, we’re in a sea where anyone can do business now, but not necessarily a specialty. Everyone who does their own gig over there but you share certain values – you work in your business and you do this and you do that – here’s a platform for you. All of those people out there who want to find people like that, all those nooks and crannies you talk about when you travel, all those neighbourhood joints that people are proud of, they live there.

We just want to do owner-operators in restaurants, cafes, bars, clothes, services, trade. Really, we just want to split the market.

Any investment yet?

No, we’ve done it bootleg in the trenches by ourselves. We said no to a big deal, a nice million dollar deal.  I feel like the idea would never have achieved what it was going to achieve if we’d just taken a paycheck. There’s an opportunity to make a better world if we don’t sell out.

What’s next?

We currently have 20 seed cafes and restaurants and I want to have 1,000 by the end of the year. We just want to set it up and let it grow. I just know that a good idea is a good idea if you would do it anyway without the money.

  • If you think you've got an interesting business and you're keen to talk about it awkwardly in an elevator, get in touch with us here

 

Idealog has been covering the most interesting people, businesses and issues from the fields of innovation, design, technology and urban development for over 12 years. And we're asking for your support so we can keep telling those stories, inspire more entrepreneurs to start their own businesses and keep pushing New Zealand forward. Give over $5 a month and you will not only be supporting New Zealand innovation, but you’ll also receive a print subscription and a copy of the new book by David Downs and Dr. Michelle Dickinson, No. 8 Recharged (while stocks last).