Smartphone app Gravy raises $3M from investors

December 16, 2012

The Leesburg-based maker of a smartphone app that helps people discover local happenings has given the app a new name and raked in $3 million from investors to fuel its development.

Gravy, formerly known as TimeRazor, provides a listing of concerts, gallery openings, museum activities and other nearby events so users can fill holes on their calendars with social outings.

“It’s a struggle to solve that problem” of finding things to do, said co-founder Jeff White. “We have a lot of those answers in one aggregated space. We are at least part of the [tool] set that people go to to answer that problem.”

The latest version of the app allows users to select their “mood” from a list that includes “brainy” for intellectual activities, “classy” for upscale affairs or “playtime” for nature-oriented or children’s entertainment.

White said Gravy has attracted more than 1 million users to date. The firm has partnered with musical acts, including Motley Crue and Blondie, as well as brands such as Universal and L’Oreal on events in an effort to grow its user base.

The app debuted in April under the name TimeRazor and promised to help fill blank slots in users’ schedules with local events. It would also suggest when users should leave their current location to arrive at the event on time.

The company has since shifted its priority to simply helping people find events that appeal to them.

“We followed the path of the consumer,” White said. “Give them what they ask for, right?”

White said the need for a name change then became evident because users weren’t flocking to the app for suggested departure times or travel routes. The name “Gravy” better matches its most popular functions, he said.

“It’s not this thing that dominates your plate, but it’s this thing that makes what’s on it special,” White said. “It’s the good stuff.”

“We’re about the little things that are going on all the time around you,” White said. “That’s the good stuff and we help you find it.”

The latest investment brings the company’s total venture capital to $6.4 million to date. Piedmont Investment Advisors is the primary financial backer.

White met co-founder Victoria Clark while working for Deltek, the recently acquired enterprise software and information services firm in Herndon. Deltek bought White’s previous upstart, an online marketplace for government contractors.

Steven Overly covers the business of technology, biotechnology and venture capital in the Washington region for The Washington Post and its weekly Capital Business publication. In that capacity, he has written about start-up struggles, investment trends and major drug discoveries.
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