As Philadelphia’s vibrant social scene expands, so does the wait for many looking to grab an after-work beverage. Former La Salle basketball player Rohan Brown, 25, decided to make nightlife more convenient and interactive by creating an online web app, “Barley Sober.” The application that enables users to pre-order drinks and earns points at their favorite bars as well as discover new bars in the process.

Brown recalled: “Since I became 21, and started to go into a lot of the bars, the people around campus noticed I’d venture off into the city a lot and would ask me, ‘Where’s the best place to go if I’m trying to have a good time?’ I said, you know, maybe I can share my experiences when I do go out and write a blog about it and people can be more akin to what the nightlife scene is like. I started interviewing bar owners, and just asking them basic business questions, and realize that none of them really know who their most valuable customers are.”

Once he completed his MBA in finance, Brown jumped into the corporate world to begin his career but always had the urge to start his own business.

“Upon graduating, I immersed myself in the tech scene and figured out something that would work for all parties involved (developing) a mobile app where users can pre-order drinks and earn points at their favorite bars, sort of like a loyalty program,” Brown explained.

After two years at SEI Private Trust Co., he was ready to take a dive into the tech entrepreneurial world with his own idea. Last fall, he participated in Founder Gym, the first online program that trains underrepresented founders on how to raise money to scale their tech startups.

“I’m a big advocate of minority, Black-owned tech,” Brown said. “I was able to meet founders from my background from all over the country. And we all had these brilliant ideas, but we all struggle with the same problems and that was trying to find funds, because the majority of venture capital funds do go to white males or women ... I do believe we’re in a transitional period right now, where the people who have faced the most adversity are the ones that are going to be coming out with the next innovative companies, and they’re going to be minority lead. But the struggle of finding funds for this, this demographic is an ongoing battle.”

“Upon graduating, I immersed myself in the tech scene and figured out something that would work for all parties involved (developing) a mobile app where users can pre-order drinks and earn points at their favorite bars, sort of like a loyalty program,” Brown explained.

Barley Sober is holding its first drink tour in Philadelphia through June 25. For more information and locations, visit Barley-Sober.com.

The New Next (#TheNewNext) features in-depth podcast reviews, interviews with podcasters of color (or programs highlighting POCs) and occasionally delves into digital technology and social media trends. Share your digital world @PhillyTrib or direct with Bobbi Booker on Twitter, Instagram or Facebook @bobbibooker.

(1) comment

Guest

This is wonderful ! Would love to partner this summer for a bar crawl in Brooklyn targeting all of the minority owned bars in Brooklyn . Let’s chat Rohan. - Yalaisa La Salle class of 2014

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