SANTA ROSA BEACH, Florida – March 5, 2011 – A website and mobile app concept that started in Walton County has sparked an international entrepreneurial trend that’s quickly spread to 100 other towns across 28 states and 3 countries.
Featured in the February issue of Entrepreneur magazine, TownWizard is the result of a partnership between friends Jeff Armstrong of Seagrove, Darren Nelson of Destin and Mike Ragsdale of Santa Rosa Beach.
Ragsdale first launched www.30A.com with the goal of creating a simple online guide to events, activities and businesses along Walton County’s Scenic Highway 30A. Today, 30A.com has 35,000 fans on Facebook alone, and its circular blue logo is one of the most widely recognized brands in the Panhandle. After being repeatedly asked to help establish similar guides in other towns, the team of friends used the basic concept to create a software and marketing package designed to help other entrepreneurs launch interactive guides in their own communities.
“We now have partners as far away as Roppongi, Japan and Yellowknife, Canada, just below the Arctic Circle,” said Ragsdale. “Our customers range from semi-retired couples and stay-at-home moms to luxury resorts and publishing companies with hundreds of employees.”
Armstrong believes that the appeal to some entrepreneurs has been TownWizard’s surprisingly affordable price tag.
“It costs at least $30,000 to design, implement and deploy a brand-quality iPhone app,” said Mashable.com, a leading social media and technology news website. “And if you develop different apps to cover the three most common platforms, you’re going to triple your cost.”
Meanwhile, a Forrester Research report set the price of a “no-frills” app at a minimum of $20,000, with more sophisticated apps costing $150,000 or more. By comparison, the TownWizard platform costs only $795 to launch, with a monthly fee of $249, and the package includes a custom iPhone app, a Google Android app, a website, marketing support and more.
“It’s obvious that every town and neighborhood will eventually have its own mobile app guide, and we wanted to make it affordable for entrepreneurs who share that vision,” said Armstrong. “We already have partners in 100 markets, but with over 2,800 small towns in the U.S. alone, we’ve barely scratched the surface of TownWizard’s full potential.”