Checking in with Zonetail February 2, 2016 RICCentre By Anne Servidad, RIC Centre Communications Intern Let’s say you are constantly on the go from one area to another. There’s just too much to explore in so little time. Travel sites don’t give you enough accurate information about the neighborhood, and it’s just time consuming to look through everything that’s already there. What you need is an organized and efficient way to search and explore these places. You need… Zonetail! Zonetail is a location-based mobile platform, custom-branded to hotels and designed to organize information in and around the area that you check in to. It gives the user anchored, precise data about the neighborhood and also provides targeted, sponsored content in the area. The main competitive advantage of the app is its content management system. Content from hotels and condos can be loaded onto the app in real time and advertisers can also change content according to a specific occasion. It essentially functions as a local marketing platform for surrounding businesses. Small and medium companies can place and locate their services on the map. Now customers will be able to pinpoint exactly where those hard-to-find small, intimate cafes and ‘mom and pop’ restaurants are. Sounds pretty cool but just how great is it really? Zonetail’s major successes include contracts with over 200 hotels spread across North America, strategic partnerships with Asian American Hotel Owners Association (AAHOA) and Shiftsuite, a company that owns 35% of condo buildings in the Toronto region. In 2015, Zonetail raised $2.3 million in financing for their product primarily through private investors. Co-founder Jeff Plowman states that the RIC Centre has helped Zonetail in some of its greatest achievements. “The investor deck series with James Sbrolla [RIC Centre Entrepreneur-in-Residence] was absolutely great. We pitched to him and he was hyper-critical of it. In the end, it helped us give a sense of what the real world expectations are and raised the company’s standard,” explained Jeff. To all the young entrepreneurs in the tech industry, and other companies sponsored by RIC, Jeff provides some invaluable insight: “First, understand your market. You need to know if there will be a demand for your product. Second, never pretend that you know enough about your industry. It’s always a great idea to go to experts or other people in the industry. And lastly, aim to create strategic alliances.” As far as future plans go, in the first quarter of 2016, Zonetail hopes to launch the condo side of their app and grow their presence across the hotel and condo industry. We wish Zonetail the best of luck, and hope to see them continue succeeding in the future.