If you’re a member of the military community, you deserve a break. But military discounts are often not publicized, which puts the onus on you to find them. Wouldn’t it be nice if a mobile app and web interface collected information about military discounts in your area so you knew exactly what you were entitled to?
Enter SCOUT. Here, co-founder Cody McGraw tells us more:
What was the spark that inspired the birth of your concept?
It came from a need. There wasn’t a mobile app that connected the military community with local discounts and savings.
What problem does it solve?
There are roughly 400k military discounts nationwide. The primary way to access this information is by word of mouth. The problem with this that it’s requiring one of the most selfless demographics in the world (the military community) to ask for something. It doesn’t fit their culture. SCOUT solves this by geofencing our locations so if a service member walks into a store, s/he no longer has to ask for a discount. SCOUT sends a notification about the discount details when s/he walks into the store. Also, for those who don’t have smartphones, SCOUT Military has a robust online marketplace where the military community can shop and save.
How did you come up with the name?
There’s a “Scout” position in each branch of the military (Army, Navy, Marines, Air Force, and Coast Guard). One of their jobs is to go out and collect information that is beneficial to the unit. That’s what SCOUT Military does for our community. We find and curate military deals and bring them to the military community.
How are you better/different than your competition?
We are the first and only military app to have all of our locations geofenced, therefore removing the need to ask a store manager for a discount, or knowing about it beforehand. We empower local small businesses to sell high-quality products to the military community. Our apps and marketplace are not limited to national companies. SCOUT’s branding reveres the customs and culture of the military community, something that can be easily overlooked.
How do you make money?
We take pride in being able to say we never charge the military community to use our apps or marketplace. We make money from revenue share on products sold through the marketplace and apps.
What’s the best thing about being an entrepreneur?
Realizing that there are other people like you who have a desire to fulfill their dream of running their own business. And, most of these peers are willing to help and mentor you.
What has been the biggest surprise in your entrepreneurial experience to date?
When our attorney and his wife invested in us—a humbling experience!
Your biggest success?
Raising our first seed round a few months ago from RAIN Angels, Elevate Capital, and Team Carleton. We had been bootstrapped prior to that point, so it was a huge milestone for us to receive this kind of support.
Do you have a failure story to share?
Plenty of them! One that comes to mind is during the early stages of SCOUT. One of the first programming freelancers that made version 1 of the apps did not have clear guidelines. We struggled a few times because of this and there was a lot of miscommunication. Having a clear outline on what expectations are and when they are complete helps prevent this. It was a great learning experience for both parties!
As an entrepreneur, what keeps you up at night?
Thinking of all the ways our platforms can improve to provide maximum value for our users.
What is the best entrepreneurial advice you have received?
“Chop your own wood, and it will warm you twice.” -Henry Ford
What is your #1 piece of advice for a budding entrepreneur?
Business is people.
What is the #1 book you would recommend for a budding entrepreneur?
Start With Why by Simon Sinek.
What song best describes your entrepreneurial journey?
Holdin On by Flume.
Imagine your venture becomes wildly successful. What does that look like?
The entire military community has a delightful shopping experience from SCOUT Military’s online marketplace & apps.
What’s your favorite local business and why? Pearl Tea Soda Company, because it’s operated by two outstanding individuals (Max and Liz) who eat, sleep, and breathe their product. Also, their product tastes so so good!
When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A movie director.
Do you think Oregon is a good place to start a business?
Absolutely! Oregon is full of life. The mountains, the unlimited amount of places you can hike for inspiration, and all the vibrant communities make it a perfect place to start a business.
Any other tidbits or fun facts to share?
Yes! If you are a business (from a startup to Nike), please connect with us through our website. You can become a SCOUT merchant & open new doors to releasing your product to the world.