We talked to Joshua I. Lewis on how UpDown Nightlife eases the experience of consumers within a billion dollar industry lacking the precise data that they aim to provide and here is what he said about it.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Joshua I. Lewis: In times of uncertainty such as these, I have been focused on the people closest to me and their well-being, especially my children. Fortunately, we are all doing well and coping as best as we can.
Tell us about you, your career, how you founded UpDown Nightlife.
Joshua I. Lewis: I have always been a bit of a socialite. I always talked too much in class. I loved getting to know people and the way they thought. I was always extremely vocal in sports which inevitably brought forth leadership roles and helped carry me forward into collegiate basketball. When in college, I enjoyed the social/nightlife scenes because I was able to network even more than I already did on campus. But one thing that I noticed was improvements that could be made in the way people experienced nightlife. I had ideas and being as it was something I truly enjoyed and was good at, I knew I could help bring about those changes. That is how the concept for UpDown Nightlife came about.
I first started in the industry as security in a popular bar in Kansas City in the evenings. During the day, I was the lead sales representative for a top ten sales company in the U.S. By incorporating the skills, I learned in sales with the people I met working the door at the bar, I was able to grow a concept that I felt would have a major impact on the nightlife industry.
How does UpDown Nightlife innovate?
Joshua I. Lewis: We are taking the most important aspects of nightlife right now – people, liquor, customer experience- and improving that by utilizing technology to innovate nightlife as a whole. Our app will be the driving force behind a new nightlife experience by using the data we collect to enhance and improve upon areas of nightlife that are sorely lacking.
How does the coronavirus pandemic affect your business finances?
Joshua I. Lewis: Obviously, clubs, bars, and restaurants are struggling, which slows down the opportunities we have to collect the data we need. However, the pandemic has actually awarded us the opportunity to focus on refining the technology we will use and app development as a whole.
Did you have to make difficult choices regarding human resources, and what are the lessons learned?
Joshua I. Lewis: Luckily, we did not have to lay off any of our employees, but it did help us pinpoint the key qualities we will consider with new hires moving forward. While that may not be thought of as difficult, it was definitely a lesson we needed to learn.
How did your customer relationship management evolve? Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?
Joshua I. Lewis: Communication with our customers/partners improved because we were able to focus on what makes their processes more seamless. Like any industry, we are often caught up in the day-to-day, and it is easy to become compliant with what is familiar. The pandemic allowed us and our customers to slow down and really highlight the areas that needed attention. With tools like Slack, our communication has improved tremendously, and Gigwage has made payment to our contract employees easier than ever.
Did you benefit from any government grants and did that help keep your business afloat?
Joshua I. Lewis: Yes, we received government assistance. While it did not keep us alive per se, it did help alleviate some stress in the financial aspects of things.
Your final thoughts?
Joshua I. Lewis: We are extremely excited about 2021. With our app set to launch later this year, we feel this will be our best year to date. Be on the lookout for updates and be prepared to download our app!
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