Startup Spotlight: What’s Mapnin’

What’s Mapnin’ is an interactive experience that gives users a whole new way to see what’s happening in Lansing. Online or in print, the map is retro and unique. Through the website users can click, scroll and zoom, learning all about their favorite Lansing businesses and getting deals and discounts to those places. The winner…

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What’s Mapnin’ is an interactive experience that gives users a whole new way to see what’s happening in Lansing. Online or in print, the map is retro and unique. Through the website users can click, scroll and zoom, learning all about their favorite Lansing businesses and getting deals and discounts to those places.

The winner of The Hatching pitch competition, and Launched, The Hatching’s $10,000 grand prize, Charlotte Masters is starting with Lansing but is excited to work on other cities; next on the agenda is Grand Rapids. As a Junior at MSU, Charlotte’s success with What’s Mapnin’ is the perfect example of where a great idea and hard work can take a startup.

Founded:

Charlotte Masters
Feb. 2013

Where the idea came from:

Charlotte’s dad used to make maps of cities and Charlotte always enjoyed them. When she decided she wanted to come up with a unique presentation of Lansing that everybody could enjoy, and that also benefited businesses, she thought it would be really cool to bring back the maps her dad used to make.

Problem she is trying to solve:

Charlotte wanted to offer new ways for businesses to advertise and engage the community at the same time. This gives businesses of all sizes the means to interact with the community and advertise, all through one big project.

She’s excited by the fact that there are so many opportunities to turn advertising into a fun and creative project. “The map,” she says, “is just the beginning. There are always more ways to engage the community.”

Biggest challenge

The biggest challenge so far for Charlotte has been her next venture, What’s Apnin’.
Creating the app, knowing where to start, deciding what she wants it to look like and where she wants it to go, have all been challenging decisions.

Funding:

Charlotte’s funding so far has come from not only her successes in The Hatching and Launched, but also the revenue brought in by her product so far. She is now looking for ways to fund the app.

Advice:

While Charlotte knows that everyone has great ideas, her advice to those that want to pursue those ideas is to take small steps. “People can get overwhelmed and push it off,” she says “but doing something little every day is a start and from there things will start to develop and transform. It takes hard work but it’s not impossible.”

What’s Hapnin’ Next:

Next on the radar for Charlotte and What’s Mapnin’ is the app What’s Apnin’. The app will be a smart phone friendly, interactive map that will provide all the info about all the businesses on the maps. Users will be able to find reviews, social media, hours, menus, and more.

But, it will also be a kind of game. By visiting the places on the map and checking in, customers will be able to unlock prizes, discounts and exclusive offers. Each week, different participating businesses will be listed and the experience will mimic that of a scavenger hunt. Though, there is no need to wait until the app comes out to get discount codes. The What’s Mapnin’ Facebook page will be featuring special discounts and deals starting in the next few weeks to pave the way for the app.

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