July 9, 2013
Any community you visit across America is going to have plenty of tourist attractions up front. For instance, my home, Ocean Beach, is home to the fourth longest pier in California. But aside from that, there are a host of local treasures that lie buried in this beach community, just beyond the curtain of tourism.
Finding those cool spots is easier said than done, though. Typical Internet searches turn up plenty of irrelevant results, while approaching and asking locals only gets you so far. Alexandra Lourdes and Drew Belcher, familiar with the issue, built Unlokt as the key to unlock the cool, local side of your city.
The platform features spots in your city, and events happening at those spots, that you should know about. There are no search engines involved, and Unlokt is not designed as a deal site, directory, or Yelp-style review platform.
In fact, if you had to sum up the crux of Unlokt in one word, it might be credibility. The stability they provide users, with regard to locally recommended hot spots, is in short supply on the Internet. Not to mention what some find fun, others might find nightmarish.
“It is hard to know what is credible, what places are worth going to, and what you may be missing out on,” says Lourdes. “And we were not finding many platforms that made it easy.”
Locals recommend spots to Unlokt, and those hangouts are vetted by the in-house crew. If the joint checks out, and will be a good fit for the user base, the owner gets a personal invite to join the community: their spot has officially become “Unlokt.”
“No business can just call us and say they want to be featured though,” says Lourdes. “There is actually no way for a new business to create an Unlokt account without an invite.”
That provides the business access to the real-time engine on Unlokt’s main webpage. Via that engine, users can see correct happy hour time frames, specials, events, and even if a restaurant is family-friendly or vegan.
Businesses get the benefit of being able to post specials on a real-time platform to draw in as many potential customers as possible. Users get the peace of mind of knowing the information is 100 percent up to date.
While Lourdes and Belcher have received some serious offers bristling with advertising dollars, they choose to turn it down and remain dedicated to maintaining their credibility instead. They want no large-scale corporations in the mix; they want to keep it by the locals and for the locals.
Unlokt currently operates out of Las Vegas, but they plan to expand their reach to Los Angeles, San Diego, and Miami over the course of the next two months. So keep your eyes peeled for their service, and get to know your city, not just your neighborhood.
Unlokt was recently featured at our Tech Cocktail Week mixer in Las Vegas.
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