BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (Inside INdiana Business) — Bloomington-based Townee has secured $20,000 in funding from Indianapolis-based Elevate Ventures’ Community Ideation Fund. The startup has developed a platform to allow small businesses to connect with users, who can receive rewards for referring others to the businesses.
Townee was founded by JR Ricker, who also founded inBloom Juicery in Bloomington and noticed the majority of his customers were referred by a friend or from social media. Ricker says he will use the funding to further marketing efforts and to onboard more small businesses in Bloomington.
“The mission in starting Townee has always been to help other small businesses grow and market themselves,” Ricker said in a news release. “However, this investment means so much more than just the funding to grow. I look at it as more of a partnership with some of the smartest, most well-connected minds in Indiana that can only help us on our startup journey.”
Townee says the app also offers deals to college athletes by allowing them to profit from their name, image and likeness through collaborations with local businesses. Elevate Ventures says that made the startup more attractive for investment.
“As a former college athlete himself, JR was able to anticipate the policy changes brought down by the NCAA before a lot of other entrepreneurs did,” said Cy Megnin, Elevate Ventures’ entrepreneur-in-residence serving Velocities, a partnership that supports startups in south-central Indiana. “He has been able to capitalize on that with his launch of Townee.”
The Community Ideation Fund provides investment of up to $20,000 for eligible businesses, as well as access to additional funding and resources, according to Elevate Ventures.