For Trey Rhedrick, the alarm sounds at 5 a.m.
He rises before the sun to work at Black & Veatch as a chemical engineer project manager. When finished at 5 p.m., Rhedrick conducts a couple meetings for his other gig before heading home to snarf down dinner. For the next six to eight hours — or until he falls asleep at his desk — Rhedrick codes and troubleshoots the mobile app he built from scratch.
It’s not your typical work day, but it is for Rhedrick, who divides his 80-hour work week between Black & Veatch and his startup, Flokk. Founded in 2014, Flokk scratched a personal itch for Rhedrick when he moved from North Carolina to the Kansas City area several years ago.
“It was hard for me to find things to do. I would go on Facebook, Eventbrite you name it,” Rhedrick said. “It got frustrating because I would drive all the way down here, I would go to some event at some club or bar and it was never what I expected; in a bad way. How can I find out stuff about what’s going on? I started asking other people and they have had the same issue.”
Flokk is an app that aims to create an incentive for people to go out and try new things. It allows you to locate social events in town, shares real time statistics on the event before you arrive, offers rewards for users and allows you to connect with friends. Its goal is to gauge a user’s interests based on interactions, and for the app to grow with you.
To distinguish the app from popular competitors like Facebook Events and Eventbrite, Rhedrick said Flokk allows users to connect with Snapchat, Uber, Ticketmaster and OpenTable. With the help of those services, a Flokk user can find events based on location, create events, buy tickets, find a ride, post updates and get rewards all within the app.
The iOS and Android apps launched in early 2016 and already have several hundred users. Currently, the app is only available for users in the Kansas City area, but Rhedrick hopes to expand.
Earlier this summer, Flokk was awarded $25,000 from Digital Sandbox KC, an area incubator that provides proof-of-concept resources to startups. Aside from Digital Sandbox’s funds, Rhedrick had some financial help from a couple friends, but he said the firm has largely been bootstrapped.
Rhedrick — who works full time at Black & Veatch to fund Flokk — said that working with Digital Sandbox allowed him to make valuable connections, including with mentors and angel investors. While thankful for Digital Sandbox’s support, he said that bootstrapping the firm has had positive side effects.
“It is a struggle — you really have to find a way to fund it yourself,” he said. “Bootstrapping is important because you have a greater sense of pride and urgency with that. It gives you more flexibility, so you don’t have to worry about having to answer to anybody, or owing anybody equity. It reduces your risk long term.”
Currently, Flokk has one graphic designer and one contractor on staff. Rhedrick hopes that the app will be self sustaining by the end of the year.
Ultimately, Rhedrick said that he hopes Flokk will enable people to have more fun in Kansas City.
“I just want people to come out and have a good time,” Rhedrick said. “Don’t have a care in the world, just come out and meet new people and have a good experience. I want you to go home happy.”