December 18, 2013 by Samuel Horstman, NMSU News Center
Las Cruces coffee shop Milagro Coffee y Espresso is already seeing the benefits of partnering with a new startup company launched at New Mexico State University’s Arrowhead Technology Incubator. With the company’s live release this month, other Las Cruces businesses will now have the opportunity to share the success.
OneEighty, the company created by CEO Jon Forrest and Chief Operating Officer Timothy Swope, is a no-charge membership club that gives NMSU students, staff and members of the Las Cruces community instant access to deeply discounted offers from local merchants through text messages.
John Kelly, a senior employee at Milagro Coffee y Espresso in Las Cruces, is overseeing the partnership with OneEighty. The local coffee shop was the first company to be product tested with the OneEighty service.
“Our experience with OneEighty is pretty good so far,” Kelly said. “It’s a great idea, works well and is quick. I think people will be enthusiastic about it once more businesses are involved.”
Kelly added that the OneEighty service is beneficial to the shop because it allows him to push out inventory at a moment’s notice.
“I am able to offer deals at the spur of the moment,” he said. “I can push out an item when I have an overstock.”
With the beta testing completed, the OneEighty team is ready to begin adding more locally owned business to their list of available merchants.
“One of the key elements of the service is that it gives the merchants the ability to manage perishable inventory,” Swope said. “Primarily, our focus is always Main Street America; we aren’t looking for the big box stores. We want to give somebody the ability to have the marketing power that the big box stores have, at a local level.”
OneEighty joined the Arrowhead Center Technology Incubator as a resident more than a year ago and has received assistance every step of the way.
“Arrowhead has been so instrumental for us,” Forrest said. “The big deal with Arrowhead has been the ability to actually work in the environment and with the people who are going to become our members. To be able to be on campus with this and have that direct access to our target market has been an incredible benefit.”
A portion of all proceeds from OneEighty will go directly to Turn Bullying Around, a nonprofit foundation dedicated to building self-esteem for middle-school-aged students as a pathway toward abolishing bullying in the Las Cruces area.
“Jon and I both have a passionate place in our lives for anything that is associated with bullying,” Swope said. “People talk about it, but no one is giving the guidance or coaching on how to avoid it and overcome it. Turn Bullying Around does that.”
The Turn Bullying Around foundation was created by Forrest and Swope and will benefit from the success of OneEighty.
“OneEighty is yet another startup adding to the growing camaraderie of the entrepreneurial ecosystem in Las Cruces,” said Zetdi Sloan, director at the Arrowhead Technology Incubator. “Entrepreneurs inspire innovation, drive job creation and foster a growing economy – that’s why it is so important for the community to embrace product launches like theirs.”