Taste of success – Ollie lands €100k Den investment
A DUBLIN tech entrepreneur has landed a €100,000 investment on 'Dragons' Den' to develop his phone app that matches hungry customers with empty restaurant tables.
In return American investor Sean O'Sullivan secured a 20pc stake in Ollie Fegan's fledgling restaurant marketing app.
Mr Fegan runs Tempster, an iphone app that employs GPS technology to allow users to identify restaurants with empty tables. The idea, he says, is not to offer cut-price offers that are booked weeks in advance and can clog up restaurants during busy times, a problem he associates with daily deals.
Instead Tempster aims to entice customers in to fill empty seats every day by offering immediate added value – say a free glass of wine – outside of peak times. Mr Fegan says the European hospitality sector loses €20bn a year in unfilled spaces.
"Say you are sitting in a bar on a rainy night and want somewhere to eat, but don't want to ring around each restaurant one by one, that's where Tempster comes in – showing you what's available and where, right now," he added.
Customers can book tables on the app but only for that day.
Tempster is currently only available for Dublin restaurants but Mr Fegan intends to roll it out on a national basis soon and will target the UK market this summer.
Mr Fegan has also secured €65,000 in investment from Enterprise Ireland since founding Tempster last year. This includes a €15,000 grant from its 'New Frontiers' scholarship programme which allowed him to leave his job to develop his idea.
Dragon O'Sullivan's interest in the businesses is undoubtedly related to his background in technology companies.
Mr Fegan said pitching to the Den was a nerve-wracking experience since he decided to scrap his planned pitch half-an-hour before he went in, feeling it was too technical. "But I think it helped that I spoke from the heart," he added.