Startup: Tabbed Out
The details: Based in Austin, 25 people, launched 2010
Their story: Running a tab at a bar is easy. Closing it out at the end of the night is the tricky part -- especially if you're at a mobbed event where everyone wants the check at once, or if you're in the "forgetful" stage of your evening recreations. Tabbed Out's iPhone and Android apps link directly to merchants' point-of-sale systems. You can open your tab on your phone and -- here's the best part -- close it out when you're ready. Including remotely. At the end of the gig, hop in a cab and pay your bar bill on the way home.
There's lots of competing mobile payments systems; Tabbed Out's secret sauce is that they've struck integration deals with POS system makers and now cover 80% of the market. For merchants, it's a turnkey deployment.
The next goal: "We have to get to thousands of merchants. The key thing we get from consumers is 'I like it, but it's not in many places,'" says CEO and co-founder Rick Orr. Tabbed Out is now in 450 venues across 34 states. Its goal for 2012 is to scale and become ubiquitous.
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