Stumptown Startups Blog

Fun stuff near you? There's an app for that...

Fun stuff near you? There's an app for that... »Play Video

Fear not – you won’t miss out on any local discounts or specials with a new smart phone app launching this week in Portland.  It’s called FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) Sonar.

It uses GPS technology to notify you on your phone about discounts and happenings at the places you’re near at any particular time.  You have control over what businesses you allow so you aren’t overwhelmed with pop-ups. So far, six businesses have signed on to be included in the FOMO app.

Here's how it works: When you're in the area of a particular bar, you'll get notifications for what's happening at that bar. Certain bars and restaurants offer deals for discounted or free items if you are signed up for the app.

For instance, an arcade bar in the Old Town area of Portland, Ground Kontrol, offered a dollar in coins with a drink purchase on Thursday night. And at the nearby Penny's Diner, you could get a free breakfast sandwich earlier on Thursday.

But if you're at home, nowhere near the business, no worries: You won't get alerts on your phone, as you can only opt to receive updates from places you like.

The co-founder, Rick Sheinin, said it's a purpose of the app not to annoy you.

"If you want to connect to a business, you can connect to a business, but they're not going to follow you home," Sheinin said. "They're not going to spam you. You're only connected to that business when you're there."

For patrons, the app is free. Businesses pay a one-time fee of $30. They can use it as much or as little as they want.